Just days after Hurricane Harvey struck Texas and areas of Louisiana, leaving unprecedented destruction, a level stronger tropical cyclone was reported heading towards Florida. Irma, the strongest Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, first brought chaos to your Caribbean, devastating islands like Barbuda and St. Martin on September 6, where it struck with Category 5 winds that on occasion reached about 185 mph.
More than two dozen people perished, and also 90 % from the structures were razed to the floor. Images released by NASA’s Earth Observatory show the once lush green islands appearing brown and barren, possibly given that the high winds stripped them of all vegetation.
But Irma only agreed to be starting out. After grazing Cuba and Puerto Rico, the hurricane, now downgraded slightly to your Category 4 storm, then raged within the U.S. East Coast where it made landfall twice – the initial from the Florida Keys at 9:10 a.m Sunday, September 10, including a hrs later, on Marco Island across the state’s southwestern coast.
The powerful storm, which brought gusty winds of up to 145 mph and sudden tornadoes, downed several power lines and drenched some areas with nearly 16-inches of rain, causing dangerous flash floods. In addition, Irma, which lead to one of several largest evacuations in U.S. history, unexpectedly veered west, but in addition Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area, containing not experienced the direct path of a hurricane in for a century.
As of Tuesday September 12, almost 6.5 million people round the “Sunshine State” remain without power, and overwhelmed power companies are usually not sure whenever it will likely be restored. The low-lying Keys, which suffered several of the worst damage, have limited electricity, gas, and water. Though residents on the Middle Keys, Lower Keys, and Miami were permitted to go back home this morning, over 100,000 Florida residents live in shelters and millions more are slowly trickling back after taking refuge in other states.
Though it has now been downgraded to your tropical depression, Irma is constantly on the wreak havoc as it travels north. It’s got flooded downtown Charleston, Sc and remaining 800,000 someone without power in Georgia. The state’s coastal areas, including Savannah and Brunswick, are under bad weather surge warning of 4-6 feet, while evacuees from your neighboring Tybee Island usually are not being capable of return home because of extensive flooding.
It can take ninety days before the full extent on the damage inflicted by Irma are usually accurately assessed. However, experts estimate it will cost you upward of $300 billion or almost double the amount of $180 billion estimated to rebuild and repair the destruction forgotten by Harvey.
While it will take time for affected regions thoroughly recover, it some consolation which the points that end in powerful hurricanes like Irma are fairly infrequent. Experts say, a hurricane’s strength will depend on three factors: temperature of water, strength moisture inside the atmosphere, and wind shear. The previous two supply the storm energy, while a small wind shear prevents it from dissipating. Though it may be rare to get these 3 conditions while doing so, that’s what exactly happened with Irma. Water temperatures have already been about a couple degrees higher in 2010 than normal, the atmosphere was laden with moisture, as well as wind shear was almost zero! In addition, Irma encountered relatively little landmass what is the best to unleash its fury simply because it made its way towards Florida.
This isn’t first-time Florida has a break down hurricane of your magnitude. In 1925, a little daughter Miami was hit of what was likely a Category 4, killing 375 people. Twenty-five years ago, Hurricane Andrew, the worst storm inside state’s history, generated $26.5 billion of damage and 15 deaths. However, as South Florida’s population and cities carry on growing, future hurricanes pose much larger threats. Even though there is not much that can be done to avoid nature’s wrath we’re able to all help by donating money, time, or resources to aid those who have been displaced.
Resources: theverge.com,latimes.com. nola.com, thevox.com