MIAMI — Hurricane Irma struck Florida on Sunday, putting the entire peninsula in peril after pummeling the Keys. Both of the state’s coasts were pounded by storm surges. Thousands of people hunkered down in shelters and more than 1.5 million people lost power.
WHAT’S AHEAD FOR IRMA?
The 400-mile (640-kilometer) wide storm marching up Florida’s west coast on Sunday after strafing South Florida, including the Keys. While the projected track showed Irma raking the state’s Gulf Coast, forecasters warned that the entire state — including the Miami metropolitan area of 6 million people — was in extreme peril. The Tampa-St. Petersburg area , with a population of about 3 million, was bracing for a direct hit early Monday.
WHAT HAS IRMA DONE SO FAR?
Hurricane Irma left at least 24 people dead in the Caribbean last week as it flattened island after island. On Sunday, the storm roared through the Florida Keys with 130 mph (210 kph) winds. More than 1.5 million people lost power across Florida. Authorities say two construction crane s collapsed in Miami and no injuries were reported. There were no immediate reports of death in Cuba , but authorities there were trying to restore power, clear roads and warning of possible flooding through Monday.
IRMA THREATENS GEORGIA
Gov. Nathan Deal declared an emergency for the entire state of Georgia on Sunday. The National Hurricane Center predicted Irma’s center would cross into southwest Georgia on Monday. A hurricane warning was issued for communities including Albany and Valdosta. A tropical storm warning also was issued for Atlanta, where wind gusts could reach 55 mph (88 kph).
Officials in Florida have set aside nearly 1 million gallons (about 3 million liters) of water, filled 67 trailers with meals, and amassed 24,000 tarps. They also have asked the federal government to kick in 11 million meals and millions more gallons (liters) of water, plus nearly 700 cases of baby supplies. When it is finally safe for emergency officials to fan out across the peninsula, they will find out whether that is enough.
HOW TO GAUGE IMPACT IN MIAMI
Former Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate says how fast Cuban coffee stands reopen — and how many customers they draw — may indicate how badly Miami is faring. “Cuban coffee stands — if those are closed, it is bad,” Fugate said.
Fugate led Florida’s emergency management division during the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons and used the Waffle House restaurant chain for the same purpose in previous storms.
The Miami Marlins’ radio broadcast was off the air because of technical problems at its flagship station caused by Hurricane Irma. Play-by-play announcer Dave Van Horne, in his 17th season with the Marlins and 49th in the major leagues, said 940-AM WINZ in Miami has no feed. The Marlins were playing the Braves in Atlanta.
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