An Air Force pararescueman aboard an HH-60G Pave Hawk surveys damage caused by Hurricane Irma
in South Florida, September 12, 2017.
Collin Anderson/News Editor
Two weeks ago, the nation was reminded of the devastation that a hurricane can cause to Houston. A week following Harvey, Hurricane Irma ravaged the Florida peninsula.
With top sustained winds registering at 180 miles per hour, this put Irma well over the 157 mph threshold to be classified as a Category 5. According to Weather Underground, Hurricane Irma was the fifth strongest Atlantic hurricane on record.
Hurricane Irma battered the Caribbean. St. Martin and St. Thomas received heavy damages while Barbuda was wiped out according to the US Ambassador Ronald Sanders. About 95% of the island’s buildings were destroyed, and all 1,800 residents of Barbuda were evacuated to Antigua. It was the first time that a Caribbean island was uninhabitedin 300 years.
As Irma left Cuba and approached Florida, South Carolina and Florida were declaring states of emergency. Originally projected to hit the east coast, Irma shifted and was forecasted to go directly up the center of Florida with nowhere in the state being safe. This led people to flee the state entirely; some to Georgia, Tennessee, and even the Northeastern United States. As it neared the Keys, the projection shifted it west and had it working up the west coast of Florida. People that had fled the east coast to avoid the eyewall were now in its direct path.
The damage in Florida was far from the same plane as was in the Caribbean.
The last day of hurricane season is Nov. 30. The trails of death and destruction these storms have left should be clear reminders that hurricane season is far from over. This resonates especially since the Caribbean and the United States are looking down the barrel of Hurricane Maria.