Hurricane Irma: Shocking footage shows Florida streets turning into rivers

A flooded street near the ocean after Hurricane Irma passes through Naples, Florida
A flooded street near the ocean after Hurricane Irma passes through Naples, Florida

These horrifying videos show the scale of devastation Hurricane Irma is wreaking on Florida, where some streets have been replaced as rivers and palm streets whip from side to side.

Five storm-related deaths have reported so far in the US state, after Irma crossed ten Caribbean countries and territories, killing at least 28 people.

Its centre will move over the western Florida peninsula into the southeastern states late today and Tuesday.

Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 85 mph (135 km/h), with higher gusts, as it was downgraded to a Category 1 storm.

The National Hurricane Centre said hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 km) from the centre, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 415 miles (665 km).

Despite weakening, Irma’s winds remain a major risk, particularly because of flooding, forecasters have warned.

More than 4 million homes in the state are without power, with parts of Miami (particularly Brickell) and Naples under water.

Florida Governor Rick Scott asked “everybody” to pray for the state, describing the storm as a “life-threatening situation”.

He told residents: “Do not think the storm is over when the wind slows down.”

This morning, Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has said that the state will require the most expensive programme in US history to recover.


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Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she said: “This is the most significant storm that has hit the United States in modern times.

“What is very serious about it is that it is hitting virtually the entire state, multiple major metropolitan areas, and we are going to have a recovery the likes to which we have not seen in the United States.”

President Trump described the storm as “some big monster”.

“Right now, we are worried about lives, not cost,” he told reporters.

The National Weather Service in Atlanta issued a tropical storm watch for the area Monday and Tuesday. Schools in the state planned to close Monday.

Irma hit Cuba late Friday as a Category 5 hurricane before it weakened and headed to the United States.

Irma swept across islands including St Martin, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the British and US Virgin Islands, causing more than $10bn (£7.6bn) in damage.

The hurricane first struck Antigua and Barbuda on Wednesday. Prime minister Gaston Browne said 95 per cent of buildings on Barbuda had been damaged.

He said the island was “literally under water” and “barely habitable”.

This morning, foreign secretary Boris Johnson rejected claims that the UK government has abandoned British citizens stranded in the Caribbean.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he said: “I am confident that we are doing everything we possibly can to help British nationals, but you must understand there half a million of them affected.”

Amy Brown, a mother of two stranded in a resort on St Martin, told the programme: “Every single government has responded but there’s been absolutely nothing at all from our government.”

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