Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

'Astounding Recovery Effort' in Irma-Slammed Florida Keys

'Astounding Recovery Effort' in Irma-Slammed Florida Keys

Hurricane Irma left a trail of damage across South Florida: flooded streets, downed trees, crushed cars, collapsed cranes, leaky homes.

Warnings of risky storm surges remained in effect through vast swaths of peninsular Florida, where more than six million people had been ordered to flee Irma in one of the biggest evacuations in USA history.

Downgraded to a tropical storm that day, Irma had ranked as one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes before barrelling into the Florida Keys on Sunday and moving inland to wreak havoc across the third most populous U.S. state.

The NHC is monitoring another hurricane, Jose, which was spinning in the Atlantic about 1130km west of Florida.

But Irma isn't done yet. It was a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour, and was moving east at 6 miles per hour. The storm has a particularly large wind field, extending across the entire Florida peninsula.

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Irma hit Florida on Sunday, before weakening to a tropical storm as it moved north on Monday.

"Storm surge has the highest potential to kill the most amount of people and to cause the most amount of damage", Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency told "Fox News Sunday". About 5,000 of the Keys' 30,000 permanent residents stayed to ride out the storm, Florida Keys spokesman Andy Newman said.

Dozens of residents who fled are waiting waited at a police checkpoint eager to get back to their island homes to assess the damage.

It also caused flooding and outages in Georgia and SC as it moved inland. Irma has pushed into Georgia, the Carolinas, Kentucky, and Tennessee as a post-tropical cyclone, still carrying heavy rains but with somewhat lower wind gusts.

Officials in Jacksonville issued a flash flood emergency this morning.

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An incredible shot of Irma's eye as seen from the Sentinel-2A satellite on September 9, 2017.

Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes on record before it arrived in the United States, killed 43 people in its rampage through the Caribbean and at least 11 in Florida, Georgia and SC. Winds of up to 142 mph were reported in Naples; 130 mph in Marco Island; 99 mph in Miami, and 91 in Key West.

Irma barrelled into the Florida Keys on Sunday, bringing sustained winds of up to 209 km/h and submerging the highway that connects the archipelago off the tip of southern Florida with the mainland. A huge airborne relief mission was dispatched yesterday to assist with recovery efforts. Her building manager told her there was flooding there, but further updates were hard to come by because power and cellphone service have been down on the island.

The images demonstrate the shift in the storm in its last few hours before striking Florida.

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