Hurricane Irma is strengthened with the approach of Florida on high alert

News 10 September, 2017
  • AFP


    Sunday, 10 September, 2017 03:50

    Sunday, 10 September, 2017 03:50

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    MIAMI | hurricane Irma is strengthened Sunday as it approached the Florida whose inhabitants were fled, fought in the night by high winds and threatened by a raging sea.

    The hurricane, which killed at least 25 people during his time in the Caribbean since Wednesday, was struck on Saturday, Cuba. It has caused flooding up to Havana and caused widespread destruction in the centre and the east, but with no death recorded officially in the immediate future.

    To 06 p.m. Sunday, the hurricane to new classified in category 4 was spinning at about 115 miles south/southeast of Key West in the archipelago of the Keys, threatening Florida to which he was moving slowly, with winds of up to 210 km/h, according to the national hurricane Center (NHC) in the united states.

    The eye of Irma should cross the Lower Keys after a few hours and then go “near or along” the west coast of Florida, according to the NHC warning that the waves may exceed 4.6 metres, enough to cover a house.

    Hundreds of thousands of people in Florida took refuge in shelters or had taken the road to flee to the north. In total, 6.3 million people – more than one-quarter of the population – the “Sunshine State” have been ordered to evacuate.

    Saturday evening, the governor of Florida Rick Scott said to reporters that the area “is already force winds of a tropical storm and a dangerous sea”. With their low elevation, the islands of the Keys are particularly vulnerable to the rising waters.

    “If you were given the order to evacuate, you should do so now. This is your last chance to make a good decision”, has hammered the governor.

    More than 170,000 homes and businesses in Florida are without electricity, according to the company Florida Power and Light.

    On the west coast of Florida, the evacuees waited in anguish the arrival on the west coast of Florida in the depression the size of Texas. In a refuge near the city of Naples (south-west), we prayed: “all we want is to stay safe and healthy,” said Viviana Serra.

    Centcom and Kennedy Space Center

    Evacuation orders had been given to the air force base MacDill, headquarters of the us central command in the Middle East (Centcom), located in Tampa, as the hurricane is expected to graze or hit early Monday. Has Orlando, the Kennedy Space Center was closed.

    In Cuba, where the hurricane came in the night from Friday to Saturday in class 5 -the highest – before being downgraded to category 4 and then 3, Irma has “seriously affected” the provinces of Camagüey and Ciego de Avila, according to the authorities. The “cayos”, a string of islands tourism along the coast, remained cut off from the world on Saturday night.

    Waves up to seven metres have been recorded on the north coast. Havana, where live two million inhabitants, has been placed in “alert” hurricane facing the risk of flooding.

    A similar fate now awaits a good part of Florida where the hurricane is expected back Sunday after-noon on the west coast, but it is so huge that the authorities are of the damage also on the east coast and in the Keys.

    Both sides of the peninsula, the towns looked like towns and cities-phantoms. Shops and restaurants were closed.

    On interstate 75 along the west coast of Florida, an endless stream of cars was moving to the north carrying refugees last minute.

    Some refused, however, to leave, as Scott Abraham, a real estate agent who intends to stay with his wife and two children in his apartment on the 5th floor of a building overlooking the beach. “If I lived in a house, I would’ve gone,” he explained. “But if it is flooded here, it’ll take us at least a week before you can return, it is out of the question”.

    Several cities have instituted a night curfew from Saturday night, to reduce the loss of life and prevent possible looting. The governor of Florida warned that Irma would be worse than hurricane Andrew, which killed 65 people in 1992, and requested that the $ 20.6 million of the inhabitants of Florida were preparing to leave.

    “It is a storm of enormous destructive power, and I ask all those who are on the passage of the storm to follow ALL the instructions of the officials in the government,” tweeted the us president Donald Trump.

    He spends the weekend in the presidential residence at Camp David with his cabinet and was duly informed of the progress of Irma and preparations for relief.

    Devastation in the Caribbean

    Hurricane Irma has devastated previously several of the Caribbean, killing at least 25 people dead: ten in the French part and two in the Dutch part of Saint Martin, four in the u.s. Virgin islands, six in the British Virgin Islands and the archipelago of Anguilla, two in Puerto Rico, one to Barbuda.

    The islands ravaged Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy saw with relief a second hurricane is expected, José (category 4), spend Saturday finally further than expected.

    Confusion, disarray and tension reigned, however, among the inhabitants of Saint-Martin after the passing of Irma. A chaos advantage to the looters, who flocked to the shops to take fridges or televisions.

    Elsewhere in the Caribbean, the 1600 inhabitants of the island of Barbuda, which was devastated by Irma in the middle of the week and also threatened by Jose, had been evacuated to Antigua.