After a taxing and difficult week, Florida begins to return and assess the damages done to the place they call home. The storm, later named a Tropical Storm by the afternoon of September 12th, leaves six million people without power. The largest utility provider in Florida reported that nearly three-quarters of its customers had lost power as of Monday morning, September 11th. Despite the damages being less than anticipated, Irma has forced more than 452,000 insurance claims to be filed after hitting South and Central Florida. The claims are estimated to be worth $2.7 billion, with more anticipated after the next few predicted hurricanes.
Reaching a maximum wind speed of 175 mph at around 8 p.m. on September 7th, Irma slowly decreased to 165 mph by 11 p.m. later that night. The storm continued to travel northwest throughout the night, remaining at a Category 4 or 5 storm throughout the rest of its rein.
Florida Governor Rick Scott urged residents living within evacuation zones to leave as soon as possible on Thursday, September 5th, and not to wait until it’s too late. Authorities in Georgia ordered over 540,000 residents to leave the southern coast, as did South Carolina authorities to nearly 45,000 people. Evacuees fled the state, some quickly realizing that they did not travel north enough to escape the storms wrath. However, many braved out the storm due to the sheer lack of supplies.
Due to the lack of supplies, looting quickly became an issue. Miami-Dade County police stated Monday, September 11th that they had made 28 looting-related arrests, while Ft. Lauderdale police made 19 burglarizing arrests.
Now, with Irma out of sight, the Caribbean braces itself once again for Hurricane Maria. The storm is predicted to only strengthen over the next two days. The National Hurricane Center labeled the storm as a Category 4 hurricane in 48 hours, after beginning as a Category 1.
A hurricane warning is in effect once again for the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten/St. Martin, St. Bathelemy and Anguilla, who have already suffered the effects of Hurricane Irma which killed 44 people.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Jose circulates in the Atlantic Ocean, threatening to hit the East Coast. As of Sunday, September 17th, the storm was 305 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, at a Category 1 hurricane. While the center of the storm is not expected to hit the coast, the National Hurricane Center anticipates that the “swells generated by Jose are affecting Bermuda, the Bahamas, and much of the US east coast.”
For those attempting to rebuilt, new challenges are thrown their way. Mold, electrical hazards, and deadly fumes are only the beginning as the water begins to recede.
Donate to those effected by the storm, but be sure to avoid scammers; tips to avoid being scammed can be found here, posted after the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey. For a cohesive list of charities accepting donations, click here for AccuWeathers suggested donation areas and ways to aid those affected.
If you are a Champions Walk resident, please know that we are here for our resident’s needs. Please call our office with any questions, concerns or needs.