ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Hurricane Irma has battered much of Florida. After hitting Miami and the nearby areas very hard, flooding many areas, uprooting trees and destroying homes, the Hurricane is headed towards the more densely populated areas of the state.
More than 6 million people have been evacuated from their homes. Several cities have been completely evacuated, even homeless people have been forced inside emergency shelters where they can feel secure.
While many people including Florida Gov. Rick Scott has said that it is going to bring huge damage in the coming days, the hurricane has already left a trail of destruction across the state.
More than a quarter of the people have left their homes and shifted to safer areas –many travelling hundreds of miles – many other people have been badly impacted by the hurricane that is on the loose right now.
Authorities claim that more than 3.3 million homes and businesses have been rendered without power in Florida as Irma moves up the peninsula.
The company that supplies power to the state, Florida Power & Light, says it will be weeks, not days, before electricity is fully restored. The widespread outages stretch from the Florida Keys all the way into central Florida.
Florida Power & Light spokesman Rob Gould while talking about the damage caused to the infrastructure said that expects thousands of miles of poles and lines will need to be replaced, particularly on the Gulf coast. Duke Energy, the dominant utility in the northern half of Florida, had about 13,000 outages with the outer bands of Irma sweeping across the region.
In the meantime, latest development suggest that water levels are rapidly rising in Naples, Florida. The National Hurricane Center said Sunday evening that a tide gauge in Naples has measured a water level of 3.9 feet above mean higher high water, the center said, a roughly 9-foot increase in three hours.
An amazing aspect of Irma is that strong winds blowing from the northeast have pushed water out of shallow parts of bays and harbors in cities like Tampa and Port Charlotte, where the storm is expected to hit later Sunday night. “As soon as the wind shifts direction, the water will come back quickly and continue to move inland,” says a meteorologist.
Police claim that tornadoes are hitting different areas across the state. Two tornadoes touched down in Brevard County, Florida, destroying mobile homes in their path, officials said. No injuries have been reported.