Home » World News » Monster Hurricane "Irma" in Florida: Tornadoes, Floods and Death Victims

Monster Hurricane "Irma" in Florida: Tornadoes, Floods and Death Victims

Sunday, September 10th, 2017 | World News

Nearly 500,000 people are waiting for the worst in Florida's shelters. But the monster storm "Irma" is rolling slowly northwards. Even before it unfolds its entire destructive force, 2.1 million people are already without electricity.

The hurricane broke through the state on the US east coast with enormous force. The dangerous storm whipped over the almost deserted Florida Keys on Sunday and began its slow and probably destructive path through the US state. In just an hour six tornadoes were formed. "Pray, pray for all in Florida," said Governor Rick Scott on US television. Miami was flooding. The authorities reported the first three death tolls. US President Donald Trump secured any support from the federal government. He himself would be "very soon" heading for Florida.

The Scene In The Middle #Miami #HurrcaneIrma #Irma pic.twitter.com/EqgSAbQq1D- Killarney Knight (@KillarneyKnight) September 10, 2017
Public life is still standing in large parts of the US state. Six-lane highways – empty swept. Petrol stations – empty pumped. Many places in the south of Florida were like ghost towns. Nearly 2.1 million people are already without electricity, although they live some hundreds of kilometers from the center of the storm. The storm is considered extremely dangerous, on the west coast of Florida is expected with storm floods and four and a half meter high waves. In the Caribbean, more than 20 people have already died in the hurricane.

Store owners in #Miami watch as its store is surrounded by a wall of water. What a terrible and uneasy feeling. #HurricaneIrma #Irma @WFLA pic.twitter.com/F0wALvDpJz- Josh Benson (@WFLAJosh) September 10, 2017
Almost every one of Florida's 20 million residents is affected; 6.5 million of them were called upon to get safe. It could be the worst storm ever hit the peninsula in the south of the USA. In 1992, Hurricane "Andrew" devastated the federal state. "Irma" could get worse.

Per @NHC_Atlantic, center of # Irma is 35 miles south of Naples, moving north @ 15 mph. Sustained winds @ 120 MPH. 1-hour # GOES16 vis loop. pic.twitter.com/EuDStKEQzB- NASA SPoRT (@NASA_SPoRT) September 10, 2017
In the south-west, where the hurricane should hit the mainland with wind speeds of up to 210 kilometers per hour during the Sunday (local time), no single store is open. When the eye of the hurricane was still over 150 kilometers away from the metropolis of Miami on the east coast of Florida, trees and road signs were already there. Wind blows drifted noticeably around the houses, at night an exit barrier was imposed.

"It will be bad, it will be a disaster," says a woman, as she is still eating some food in the last open shop. For not all residents have followed the evacuation instructions of the authorities. Especially older people have refused to leave their houses or apartments. In Florida, a large number of seniors are living in comparison to other federal states.

Fear of storm triggered mass curse
Whoever could, however, left Florida. The fear of the whirlwind triggered a regular mass curse. Because of the traffic jams on the motorways and some petrol stations running out of fuel, the unprecedented evacuation had become a race against time. Whoever was lucky found a hotel, outside the evacuation zone. In the west of Florida, up to Tampa, hotel rooms are completely booked out in a safe location. Some remain in their own house, barred with plywood and metal panels.

It is counted with up to four meters high storm waves. (Source: Carlos Barria / Reuters)

In the southeast, around Miami and Palm Beach, raging tornadoes. People fear that storm floods are washing the sea water. The waves could be up to four meters high, where houses are now standing and roads run along.

"My roof dates back to Hurricane Andrew," says Steve Pietrzyk (53), a man from Bonita Springs, on the west coast. That's why he and his wife Lynn sought shelter in the motel "Days Inn", right at the edge of the evacuation zone. There he wants to stay together with about 100 other guests until "Irma" has moved past. There is no electricity.

Using satellite before pictures @CityofMiamiFire at 6:42 PM NE 5th Ave at #Miami pic.twitter.com/erTEpIFGTF- City of Miami (@CityofMiami) September 10, 2017
The guests sit together in the breakfast room, take courage. Most are locals whose houses are too close to the water. Next to Pietrzyk is Tom Tortorice, a 89-year-old Koreakrieg veteran. He has quite different problems. For example, he can not understand why US President Donald Trump does not attack North Korea.

If you can not get a hotel room, you have to go to one of the shelters: almost all of the 421 shelters are housed in schools or churches, strategically situated, on the edge of the evacuation zones. But there are too few. Residents complain, the authorities had hoped too long that the storm would unfold its greatest force in the east, in the region around Miami. There is fear of storms and tornadoes.

People have camped in an emergency shelter in Palm Beach. (Source: Saskia Fröhlich / dpa)

In the Boynton leisure center in Palm Beach, there is still amazing calm on Saturday. Old and young people have been stretched out on air mattresses, scrolling on their smartphones, browsing through magazines. Here and there someone is talking. And now and then a quiet "meow" – behind the black plastic plane, which separates the nearly 200 people in the emergency shelter from the more than 80 cats there.

"Not the Hilton but better than nothing"
The center is one of 17 emergency shelters in the district of South Florida. Almost 16,000 people have been looking for shelter in emergency accommodations by authorities until Saturday afternoon. In the whole of Florida it was up to the Sunday afternoon according to official data over 450,000.

"Irma" has brought all stranded people into the same situation. The atmosphere is polite, the door is opened, smiles at each other. "We're not exactly the Hilton, but it's better than nothing," says Liz Harfmann, from Palm Beach County's Animal Protection Department, who is responsible for emergency accommodation. In the kitchen, water is palpable, fruit crates stack.

Nearly 500,000 people have already rescue themselves in emergency shelters. (Source: Adrees Latif / Reuters)

The state supplies and pays the meals – everything else, such as sleeping bags, mattresses and clothes, must be provided by the self-employed. There are no camp beds. Many sleep on the gymnasium floor, only protected with a thin blanket.

Hundreds of pets also evacuated
The center is the only one in Palm Beach County where pets are allowed. In the hallway in front of the gym, a graupapagei peeked out of the doorway of a cat transport box, and budgerigars chirp in several birdcages. 150 dogs, 83 cats, two poultry animals and 15 birds, Liz wrote down on a blackboard. "No reptiles, no cattle," the house rules are in the shelter.

18 employees and a handful of volunteers are responsible in the emergency shelter – for people and animals alike, around the clock. "Even if someone comes with his dog at 3 o'clock, we welcome him."

The elderly, the sick and the handicapped drag themselves into the accommodation. Margaret has just completed a brain surgery. Her daughter was hit by Hurricane "Harvey" in Texas, now she is the victim. "We live in Boca Raton, in a Flutzone," she says.

Soldiers of the National Guard support an elderly couple on their way to the shelter. (Source: Bryan Woolston / Reuters)

Emma, ​​the ten-year-old daughter of her life companion, is with her. The father is a lumberjack. He did not come back in time from the workload at the Canadian border. Emma takes care of her kitten Drusil. "She is quite traumatized," she says about the animal that has found a place in one of the stacked cat cages.

"Then we can finally go back home"
The human inhabitants of the accommodation take the situation mostly sporty. "It's like a big camping, just inside," jokes Roger Hurley. Both the woman and the children were in the school next door, the 54-year-old remains with the two shepherd dogs of the family. Each owner receives a numbered arm, each animal a collar. Gassigeh times a schedule.

By the time he's back in line, Hurley makes himself comfortable in front of the center – with a cigar between his teeth and a mini-electric guitar in his lap. Boredom is next to "Irma" the largest enemy of the stranded. In a shelter, a woman sits down a clown's nose, surrounded by a group of children.

Hurley, on the other hand, takes it easy. "I saw" Andrew "in 1992, last year we also had a hurricane that I spent here," he says. He could hardly wait until the storm passed: "Then we can finally go back home." In between, there are still hours of anxiety.


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