Much of Florida spared worst of Irma’s wrath
by Leigh Jones
Posted 9/12/17, 10:19 am
Millions of Floridians are beginning another day without electricity as crews work to repair power lines downed when Irma moved up the Florida peninsula Sunday and Monday. The Florida Keys bore the brunt of storm’s wrath, with widespread destruction pocking the low-lying islands. But residents of the upper keys—Key Largo, Tavernier, and Islamorada—are returning home Tuesday morning to begin the cleanup process. As a Category 4 hurricane, Irma washed out a bridge to the lower keys, forcing residents to wait for repairs before returning home. Gov. Rick Scott toured the area by air on Monday and described “devastating” damage. At least six people died as a result of the storm. But overall, Florida weathered Irma much better than expected, with most areas escaping the widespread destruction forecasters feared. Irma did bring widespread flooding to the entire state, but rising water hit Jacksonville especially hard. Rescue crews plucked 356 people from homes near the St. Johns River Monday, and many roads in the city remained blocked by high water Tuesday. Federal officials warn drivers in the Southeast to prepare for gas shortages after Harvey and Irma dealt a disrupting one-two punch to the nation’s fuel infrastructure and refining capacity. Irma continued to wreak havoc on its march north, buffeting Georgia’s coastal areas and metro Atlanta with high winds and heavy rainfall. More than 1.2 million people in Georgia are waiting to have power restored.
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Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on education for WORLD Magazine and WORLD Digital.