The Destructive Trail of Irma

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The death toll has already risen to more than 30 and damage is likely to run into several hundred billion dollars.


One of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century, Irma levelled entire islands in the Caribbean with 185-mph winds and intense rainfall.

On Sept 6, Irma hit Barbuda as a Category 5 hurricane, damaging 95% of the buildings and leaving the island “practically uninhabitable”.

Significant infrastructure damage was inflicted on both St Barts and St Martin/St Maarten, including the world-famous St Martin airport.

Electricity blackout, as well as food and water shortages, continue to plague the islands.

Violence and looting emerged in St Martin/St Maarten.

In the British Virgin Islands, billionaire Richard Branson, who rode out the storm at his home on private Necker Island, said entire houses disappeared and the area was “completely and utterly devastated”.

In the US Virgin Islands, worst hit were St Thomas and St John. People were still in shock and “roaming like zombies” days after the catastrophe.

Four days later, Hurricane Jose spared the Caribbean islands as it veered away from Barbuda.

Cruise lines continue to send ships to rescue victims in the Caribbean.

Two days ago, Hurricane Irma’s power was laid bare after a shocking video that has gone viral showed a Caribbean bay completely devoid of water. A rare phenomenon according to experts, the force of the mega-storm was so powerful and pressure was so low that it sucked sea water away from Caribbean beaches.


As Irma barrelled towards Florida, the largest exodus in US history was underway during the weekend, crowding highways and leaving petrol stations empty of fuel. Nearly seven million people, including 6.4 million in Florida alone, were ordered to evacuate before the hurricane struck the mainland.

Just after 9am on Sunday, Irma began its assault on Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane. It gave Florida a coast-to-coast pummelling with winds up to 130 mph, swamping homes and boats, knocking out power to millions and toppling massive construction cranes atop Miami high-rises.

By nightfall, Irma was down to a Category 2 with winds of 100 mph.

Curfews were imposed in Miami, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and much of the rest of South Florida, and some arrests of looters were reported. Miami Beach barred outsiders from the island.

After leaving Florida, Irma is expected to push into Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and beyond.

Irma may have weakened into a tropical storm, but it is not quite done yet.