Hurricane Irma continues to keep the entire state of Florida within her treacherous grip. The massive storm plowed through the Florida Keys, leaving a trail of flooding, downed trees, and damaged structures. The dangerous category 3 hurricane made her way to Marco Island around 3:35 p.m. this afternoon.
Marco Island Police reported wind gusts of over 130 MPH when Irma’s eyewall made land contact. Streets have quickly filled with water in areas where the storm’s swirling rain and wind have accompanied the storm’s center.
More than 2.1 million people are without power throughout the state. The loss of electricity leaves many with nothing more than the remaining battery life in their cell phones, to keep informed of storm updates and flooding reports.
News from the Florida Keys is difficult, due to the remoteness of the islands and the catastrophic loss of power. Some are reporting entire buildings under water and residents standing on upper level balconies, barely above the flood line.
In Miami, a crane collapsed on a partially-constructed multi-level building at 300 Biscayne Blvd. Brickell Avenue was transformed into a river, with waist-deep water overtaking the road.
Storm surge is the greatest concern in every portion of the peninsula, along both coasts. The stable voice of reason, Governor Rick Scott, said today on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos, offered to those around the country who were still able to hear, “The most important thing is to pray for us.” Gov. Scott has maintained a rigorous schedule of reports and updates, along with sound warnings to Floridians.
In Broward and Palm Beach Counties, tornado warnings have been abundant, but thus far, the confirmation includes only a central Broward County twister on Saturday evening.
St. Lucie County has reports of looting, as do several athletic shoe stores in south Florida. Curfews are in effect for Broward, Palm Beach as well as the City of Miami and many counties on the west coast.
Having begun as one the most powerful storms ever to impact the state, Hurricane Irma is expected to deteriorate, but continue to cause havock as she moves over Florida and begins to impact states such as Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas.
Update: Irma has been downgraded to a cat. 2 hurricane with max sustained winds of 120 MPH, and gusts at 142 MPH, as of 5 p.m. Storm surge, however; is beginning to rise in west coast areas such as Naples.