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Hurricane "Irma" reached Florida Keys: At least three dead

Monday, September 11th, 2017 | World News

Hurricane "Irma" has reached Florida. Accompanied by whipping winds, heavy rain and power failures the cyclone hunts over the Florida Keys off the coast of the "Sunshine State". More than 100,000 people have escaped to emergency shelters. In Cuba "Irma" brought flooding and devastation.

In more than one million homes in different parts of Florida, the electricity fell. The police reported three death tolls in Florida. According to him, a man had died when he drove a tree with his pickup truck, and the other two death victims were killed in traffic accidents.

In the late Saturday evening (local time), gale-like gusts hit the island group of the Florida Keys. From Miami, heavy rains have been reported. The national weather service registered wind speeds of up to 215 kilometers per hour.

According to the predictions, the hurricane of the second highest category 4 should hit the mainland in the afternoon at around 2:00 PM CEST with torrential rainfall, floods and storms. More than 6.5 million people were asked to leave their homes and get safe before the storm. This corresponds to about 30 percent of the population of the federal state. More than 115,000 people were waiting for the 385 emergency residences in the state during the night.

West coast of Florida is expected to have the strongest impact
According to the latest forecasts, the storm could be heading north-west along the west coast of Florida. But that does not mean an all-clear for the metropolitan area of ​​Miami, stressed meteorologists. There, too, hurricane-like gusts and storm surges were expected.

 US President Donald Trump was constantly informed by his staff about the situation, he met with his Cabinet on Saturday in Camp David. The President appealed to the people in the affected areas to follow the instructions of the authorities.

Intense wind and rain on Miami Beach. Trees down. #HurricaneIrma is here – and we're not even getting the eye. Wind has not let up. @wsvn pic.twitter.com/qsEmE6FAGi- Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) September 10, 2017

"Irma" brings havoc to Cuba
In the night of Saturday, the center of "Irma" was hit on the Camagüey archipelago on the north coast of Cuba. The hurricane once again gained strength and was temporarily downgraded to the highest category 5 by the warning center. After that, "Irma" went as a storm of category 4 along Cuba.

On television, high waves, strong downpours, fallen trees and damaged buildings were seen. The "Granma" party reported floods and material damage. Tens of thousands of people were taken to safety.

On Saturday evening strong waves hit the Malecon, the famous promenade in Havana. (Source: Ramon Espinosa / AP / dpa)

"This is the big hurricane that we have all feared on the Florida Keys," said the administrator of the Monroe district, Roman Gastesi. About 70,000 people live on the island group. The security authorities moved 460 prisoners to the mainland. According to the district, all hospitals and emergencies were closed on the islands. There is no real emergency shelter. However, the authorities set up temporary shelters.

Governor Scott mobilized 7,000 members of the National Guard. Florida is generally well prepared for the hurricane, he said. He estimated, however, that about 1000 nurses and carers would be needed in emergency accommodations. Scott called volunteers to report.

It is as though Hurricane #IRMA has finally made the turn to the NW or NNW. Forward speed increases through Sunday. #flwx pic.twitter.com/bj29YDaEpf- NWS Tampa Bay (@NWSTampaBay) September 10, 2017
Warning of up to 4.5 meters high storm floods
On the west coast, people from Fort Myers to Tampa were preparing for the worst. In some areas, storms of up to 4.5 meters were expected.

Tampa is located in a bay of the Gulf of Mexico. In the region several rivers flow into the sea, which makes them even more vulnerable to flooding. Experts assume that the city and the surrounding districts are badly equipped for a hurricane.

The emergency was also called out in neighboring states. Models of the hurricane center see "Irmas" train reaching up to Atlanta. As a result, floods are also expected on the coasts of Georgia, South and North Carolina.

Several hundred people have sought shelter in the Germain Arena in Estero, Florida. (Source: Jay Reeves / AP / dpa)

In the affected islands in the Caribbean, the storm had cost a total of more than 20 people, according to unofficial estimates, some areas are considered uninhabitable. Alone on the British Virgin Islands, five people died, on Anguilla there was a death, as British media reported. According to French authorities, nine people were killed on the islands of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélémy, 112 were injured.

Caribbean islands await next hurricane
The French overseas territories were preparing for the next hurricane. The French weather service called the highest danger level Violet on Saturday. The meteorologists thought that the tropical storm "José" could be about 100 kilometers north of the islands.

This video footage shot from a drone shows the devastation on the island of Tortola, British Virgin Islands, from Hurricane #Irma pic.twitter.com/nMgMbDYsoH- CNN International (@cnni) September 10, 2017
The US hurricane center in Miami graded the storm on Saturday as a hurricane of the second highest category 4. "José" therefore reached wind speeds of up to 230 kilometers per hour.

The inhabitants of the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, on the other hand, could breathe a sigh of relief: According to the forecast, the storm should not hit the islands directly. "Irma" had just passed over Barbuda a few days ago, devastating the small island.

The government of Antigua lifted the hurricane warning for the islands, a warning of a tropical storm remained in force.

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