Hurricane Irma hit Florida as a dangerous Category 4 storm on Sunday morning. It was the second highest level on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, but by afternoon as it barreled up the west coast, it weakened to a Category 2 with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour (177 kph), as per the report by Reuters. The northern eyewall of the storm had reached the lower Florida Keys on Saturday with the National Weather Service (Key West) issuing an urgent warning to the people to take cover. Irma made its way towards Florida in the United States after causing devastation in Cuba and killing at least 25 people in the Caribbean on Saturday. Here are latest developments so far:
1) The wind gusts near hurricane force began to batter the Florida Keys late night on Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Centre.
2) Hurricane Irma on Sunday knocked out power to nearly 4 million homes and businesses in Florida. This has threatened millions more as it crept up the state’s west coast, reported Reuters.
3) Several of the community organisations from Florida have moved their bases to Atlanta as a precautionary measure.
4) So far, the brunt of the storm has affected Florida Power & Light’s customers in the states’ southern and eastern sections, and its own operations were not immune either.
5) US President Donald Trump has said that “we may have been a little bit lucky” after Hurricane Irma veered from its original course and headed along Florida’s west coast, instead of east. He said that path might be less destructive.
6) Donald Trump said, “My concern right now is people – hopefully everyone has evacuated. I looked at our traffic cameras around the state this morning. People are off the roads. I just hope everybody has evacuated and gotten to safety. So, I hope everybody will pray for us,” reported PTI.
7) American Airlines Group Inc will not resume commercial flights at its Miami International Airport hub on Monday in anticipation of Hurricane Irma, but may operate flights to bring in staff and supplies, as per the report by Associated Press.
8) Indian-Americans in Atlanta and neighbouring areas on Sunday opened up their homes for friends, families and community members from Florida, as catastrophic hurricane Irma made landfall on the state’s southern islands. Popular Amma Kitchen announced to serve free food to those coming from Florida like several other Hindu temples, as per the report by PTI.
9) One of the Indian-American organisations – Sewa International – carrying out relief and rescue work, provided shelter to more than 300 families in the homes of its volunteers and members in and around Atlanta.
10) The storm was now headed for the heavily populated Tampa-St. Petersburg area, though in a weakened state. Irma was a Category 5 storm when it battered Cuba but was downgraded after hitting Florida.