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Hurricane Irma makes second landfall, leaves path of destruction

11 September 2017

MILITARY HEADED TO FLORIDA TO HELP RECOVERY FROM HURRICANE IRMA With millions without power in Florida, crews are ready to begin to help the state recover from Hurricane Irma.

"I've lived here 21 years, and I never imagined we'd get a direct hit", Shelli Connelly, 55, said as she stood on the sixth-floor balcony of her high-rise condo on Marco Island, where Irma made its second Florida landfall hours after barreling through the resort archipelago of the Florida Keys.

Irma made landfall on the island's Camaguey Archipelago late Friday, knocking down power lines, uprooting trees and ripping the roofs off homes.

The storm did some $20bn to $40bn in damage to insured property as it tore through Florida, catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide estimated.

The hurricane killed 24 people on its destructive trek across the Caribbean.

Hurricane Irma was losing strength as its center moved toward the northwestern coast of the Florida Peninsula on Monday and was forecast to weaken to a tropical storm during the day and to a tropical depression by Tuesday afternoon, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Many areas on both the state's east and west coasts remained vulnerable to storm surges, when hurricanes push ocean water dangerously over normal levels. Naples was expected to see a surge of between 10-15ft and the city's airport reported a wind gust of 142 miles per hour. Those were topped by a 142 miles per hour gust in Naples.

Storm surge flooding in downtown Jacksonville exceeded a record set during a 1964 hurricane by at least 1 foot, according to the National Weather Service.

Crawford said Georgia Power expects widespread damage caused by high winds and fallen trees. Tornado alerts sounded at least five times Saturday night and Sunday. "Those winds were howling like nothing else I've heard since Andrew".

He told reporters he hoped to travel to the state soon.

"Once this system passes through, it's going to be a race to save lives and sustain lives", Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long said on "Fox News Sunday".

The hurricane first made landfall at Cudjoe Key in the lower Florida Keys at 9.10am with top sustained winds of up to 130 miles per hour.

"Small boats floating down the street next to furniture and refrigerators".

Almost 4.5 million homes and businesses across Florida lost power, and utility officials said it will take weeks to restore electricity to everyone.

- There are boil water orders in effect for parts of Broward County, and Miami-Dade County schools are closed until further notice. It was unclear whether the sewage was partially treated. Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman was unaware of any significant damage in his city.

French aid includes helicopters, engineering equipment, medical supplies and a million litres (265,000 gallons) of water, as the three water-treatment plants will be knocked out for months.

"These are storms of catastrophic severity and we are marshalling the full resources of the federal government to help our fellow Americans", Trump said. "In the Intracoastal areas, all along the beaches, there's flooding into the streets". Video from the Keys showed a pickup truck zig-zagging over the center line to avoid several boats tossed onto the asphalt.

FPL, the biggest power company in Florida, said more than 3.6 million of its customers were without power by 6 a.m. (1000 GMT Monday).

Hurricane Irma makes second landfall, leaves path of destruction