UPDATE : 2023.9.17 Sun 23:40
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Hurricane Irma: breaking meteorological records
A destructive hurricane hits Florida leaving severe damage to homes

On September 10, a massive hurricane called ‘Irma’ hit the United States causing severe damage financially and to human life. Hurricane Irma was so strong that it broke many records for its massive power. The storm maintained its strength for 3 days as a Category 5 hurricane which is the longest to be observed in the satellite era. The winds of the hurricane reached 297 kph which set the highest record ever in the Atlantic Ocean. President Trump tweeted a warning that an enormous and destructive hurricane would pass through Florida and asked everyone in the storm’s path to heed ALL instructions. Trump approved a disaster declaration the day Irma hit the states and ordered assistance for the savage storm to the governors. The hurricane crashed into Florida shortly after another hurricane, ‘Harvey’, which hit Houston, TX in late August. Hurricanes Irma and Harvey caused approximately $150 billion to $200 billion in damage to vehicles, public infrastructure and homes in Texas and Florida. The streets are all a mess with debris. The places which were severely hit by the hurricane had nothing left standing. Irma went through the Caribbean as a Category 5 hurricane and hit Cuba while maintaining its strength. The hurricane was so powerful that it sucked away the ocean water in the shores of the Bahamas. “You’ve had storms this strong, but the thing that sets Irma apart is she stayed strong for a really long time—and she’s still incredibly strong.” said Phil Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University. It was somewhat fortunate for Florida as the hurricane slightly weakened after passing through Cuba and hit the US as a Category 4. It was on the coast of the Caribbean where most injuries and deaths occurred. As far as authorities have discovered, 60 lives have been taken due to the storm. 22 people were killed in Florida, 38 deaths along the Caribbean and 2 people in South Carolina. More than eight elderly people died in a nursing home in South Florida as the air conditioning broke down due to the storm. They were suffering from heat-related illnesses which made them much more vulnerable. More than 155,000 people had to stay in shelters for safety. More than 5 million homes had no power for a couple of days. The hurricane is also responsible for knocking out cable and telecom services. Two days after the hurricane swept the area, it destroyed numerous power lines above the road which caused more than 7 million subscribers to lose service in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Due to this disaster, telecom providers are also struggling to restore networks. They have to bring in at least one emergency management personnel to secure the impacted areas before entering. Statistics show that 65 percent of the destroyed houses were severely damaged. Cleanup and recovery efforts have quickly begun but it is expected to take weeks just to clean up the mess and even more months for the recovery. Evacuees and tourists are slowly returning to their homes but those whose houses were severely damaged still remain in shelters.

Jeong Seung-in  samcandothat@naver.com

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