Update on Hurricane Irma
Hurricane Irma has yet to dissipate and is now in Florida, but has been weakened to a tropical depression with sustained winds of 35 mph, thankfully, after it bounced between categories 2-5 for days. The highest wind reached was a minute long sustained 185 mph. The fatalities as of September 12 are marked at 49, but the $190 billion expected damage cost is, thus far, around $30 billion making it the 4th or 5th costliest hurricane on record versus the #1 place. Again, this is just an update, not a final report.
According to Wikipedia, the storm has caused catastrophic damage to Barbuda (3 reported fatalities), Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, Anguilla (1 reported fatality), and the Virgin Islands (4 reported fatalities) as a Category 5 hurricane. Additional fatalities reported are 1 death in Barbados, 10 deaths in Cuba, 11 deaths in the French West Indies, 1 death in Haiti, 3 deaths in Puerto Rico, 4 deaths on the Dutch side of Sint Maarten, and 11 deaths in the United States.
The New York Times reports Florida Governor Rick Scott as saying that over all, Irma’s damage to his state was not as bad as the direst forecasts had predicted, but that some areas were thoroughly brutalized. About 62% of residents remained without power. And northern Florida, including Jacksonville, was flooding. Many areas have suffered fuel shortages, downed power lines, and standing water.
The National Weather Service declared a flood emergencies and coastal flood warnings are in effect, some lasting until Thursday. They advise residents take appropriate actions to protect life and property. Areas impacted by this destruction are experiencing high levels of rampant looting, warning that the property they protect isn’t just due to forces of nature, but also by those who would take advantage of the situation. Police advise people to “choose wisely and stay home” and to “stay home and look after loved ones and be thankful they are all safe” instead of looting.
Bear in mind, the floods aren’t just affecting residential homes and their inhabitants, but also retail establishments and their owners. Property damages to local storefronts, due to flooding and wind demolition, also impacts the merchandise.