What You Need to Know About Hurricane Irma
CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 9/11/2017, 7:17 a.m.
By Doug Criss, CNN
(CNN) -- Today is September 11. Let's pause for a moment to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks 16 years ago. Now, here's everything you need to know about the devastation that Hurricane Irma has wrought. You can follow live updates here or watch unlimited CNN. Also, CNN.com is offering a text-only version of its web site that's easier to load in low-bandwidth areas.
Where it is now
One of the strongest storms to ever hit the US, Irma weakened to a Category 1 overnight. But it's still dangerous. Early this morning, the eye of the storm was about 60 miles north of Tampa, with sustained winds of about 75 mph and wind gusts up to 90 mph. This means, Most of the state will continue to feel Irma's effects -- windy conditions and torrential downpours.
Where it is going
Irma's moving northwest through the western part of the Florida peninsula and into the southeastern US. So, later today, parts of Georgia and Alabama will be battered by Irma's strong winds and heavy rains. Irma will weaken to a tropical storm this morning and to a tropical depression by this afternoon. Many schools in Alabama and Georgia have already canceled classes today and tomorrow.
Where it has been
After wreaking havoc in the Caribbean (and killing at least 26 people there), Irma slammed into the Florida Keys as a monstrous Category 4 hurricane. A few hours later Irma made a second landfall at Marco Island, before the storm barreled its way through Tampa.
What it has wrought
Streets in Miami turned into raging rivers as floodwaters surged in the city, and the airport is closed because of "significant water damage." Cranes collapsed. There are boil water orders in parts of Broward County, and Miami-Dade School are closed until further notice.
Strong winds blew water right off bays and harbors in Tampa and Port Charlotte. Devastating storm surges battered coastlines all over Florida. Right now, nearly four million customers in the state don't have power, and FEMA chief Brock Long said some places won't have electricity for weeks.
A pair of tornadoes touched down in Brevard County -- and tornadoes are among a hurricane's potent threats. Venice shut down its water plant. Even Disney World was forced to close, for only the sixth time in its 45-year history.
This is the first time the US has been hit with two Category 4 storms in the same year, and Harvey and Irma will exact a huge financial toll. One company estimates Irma will cause $50 billion worth of losses in the US.
We're getting some reports of deaths, but it's just too early right now to know what the final toll from Irma will be in the US.
How we have responded
First responders are only now getting out to assess the damage Irma brought to Florida. There are rescues underway along the intercoastal waterway in Daytona Beach, with responders plucking people out of apartment buildings. In St. Petersburg, rescuers watched helplessly as 911 calls piled up because it was just too windy and too dangerous for them to be outside.