Hurricane Irma makes second landfall on Marco Island; Naples braces for storm
ABC News(KEY WEST, Fla.) — Hurricane Irma made its second landfall on Marco Island on the southwest Florida coast this afternoon with 115 mph winds after battering the Florida Keys earlier Sunday. The hurricane, which is barreling toward Naples with powerful wind and rain, has left at least three people dead in Florida, including a sheriff’s deputy, and over 2 million customers without power.
With millions of Floridians under orders to evacuate, many are desperately seeking shelter from the storm. One Naples resident told ABC News she was turned away from two shelters before she and her 10-year-old son were finally accepted at one. “We have a dog and there were not that many shelters that accepted dogs,” she said, adding, “We didn’t want to be that far away from our home.” While she and her son stay inside the shelter, her husband is hunkering down with their dog at home.
As the storm lashed Miami on Sunday, winds whipped around high-rise buildings at speeds approaching 100 mph, the National Weather Service said. Two cranes collapsed in Miami and a 94 mph wind gust was recorded at Miami International Airport.
Accompanied by the strong gusts of wind, water rushed through Miami’s streets. One resident said streets were flooded up to the newspaper stands and the winds were so powerful that windows cracked from the sheer force of the gusts.
Irma this morning also brought wind gusts of 120 mph to the National Key Deer Refuge on the Florida Keys and 89 mph winds to Key West.
— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) September 10, 2017
Florida Keys officials said Sunday that residents who evacuated should not return until further notice.
Visibility became poor in Naples this afternoon as the storm neared.
Some now sheltered in Naples had fled from the eastern side of Florida when it was first forecast that Irma would hit the eastern coastline. The mayor of Naples said those in hotels around the city are being ordered out of common areas and into their rooms.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned residents of dangerous storm surges that could reach 10 to 15 feet above sea level in the Naples area.
“Do not think the storm is over when the wind slows down,” Scott said Saturday. The dangerous storm surge “will rush in and could kill you.”
“You need to stay in a safe place,” the governor said. “Be prepared, listen to local evacuation advisories.”
Fatalities in Florida
As Irma bore down on Florida this morning, at least three deaths were reported in the state.
A man in Monroe County, which encompasses Key West, was killed after he lost control of a truck that carried a generator as winds whipped at tropical-storm strength, officials said.
Two other people, a sheriff’s deputy and a corrections officer, died from a two-car crash in the rain in Hardee County, which is about 60 miles inland from Sarasota, officials said.
The deputy, identified as Julie Bridges, was a 13-year veteran of the county force, said Hardee County Sheriff Arnold Lanier. She was heading home after a night shift, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
The second victim was a sergeant at the Hardee Correctional Institute who had been on his way to work, the highway patrol said.
Hurricane Irma has left at least 27 people dead in the Caribbean, according to authorities.
Millions ordered to evacuate
As the monster storm neared, about 6.5 million Floridians were under mandatory and voluntarily evacuation orders. Evacuations were ordered in Georgia and South Carolina as well.
Over 116,000 people are in 530 shelters across Florida to ride out the storm. 30,000 people are in shelters in Miami-Dade alone.
But others decided to hunker down at home bracing for Irma’s impact.
Sylvia Constantinidis, a 27-year resident of Miami, told ABC News earlier this week that she would stay in the city during the storm.
“I own my house. You leave and then there is a major disaster then they don’t let you come back to Florida until many days after,” Constantinidis said. “If you have any damage or water getting into your house and you have to wait for two or three weeks to come back, then your house will be completely damaged by the time you come back to Florida.”
Widespread power outages
By 3:30 p.m. Sunday, more than 2.1 million households were without power in Florida. Three-quarters of Miami-Dade is without power. Five million customers are expected to lose electricity.
A tornado watch is in effect Sunday for Fort Myers, Tampa, Melbourne, Daytona Beach and Jacksonville. One tornado was confirmed this morning in Hardee County.
Georgia’s governor expands state of emergency to all counties
Irma’s heavy rain and wind is expected to reach Georgia, too, and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on Sunday expanded his emergency declaration so all Georgia counties are under states of emergency.
Governor vows to take care of Floridians
Scott said at a news conference Sunday that he “requested a major disaster declaration from President [Donald] Trump to help bring important federal resources and aid to Florida.”
Scott said hours earlier on ABC News’ “This Week” that “we’re going to make sure every person in the state is taken care of to the extent we can. It’s hard to do it during a storm, but as soon as that storm passes, our first responders will be out there doing everything they can to take care of every person in the state.”
Scott said Trump has “offered every resource there is of the federal government.”
“He said he’ll be praying for us,” Scott added.
Pence delivers message of resolve at FEMA headquarters
Vice President Mike Pence, flanked by several members of Trump’s Cabinet, delivered a message of resolve at FEMA headquarters this afternoon, saying, “We will get through this.”
“Our mission here at the federal level in support of local efforts is simple: Wherever Hurricane Irma goes, we will be there first,” he said. “We will be there with resources and support, both to save lives and to help recover and rebuild these states.”
The vice president urged Americans in the storm’s path to heed the directions of officials in seeking shelter and to get out of danger’s way if there’s still time.
“We can rebuild cities, we can rebuild buildings, we cannot rebuild lives,” he said.
Coast Guard response
Rear Adm. Peter Brown, commander of the Coast Guard’s 7th District, said on “This Week” on Sunday that the Coast Guard is ready to handle Irma’s aftermath in Florida.
However, Coast Guard assets have been relocated “out of the storm’s path” in Alabama and other states, making the response all the more challenging.
“The size, the intensity, and the track of Hurricane Irma threaten the entire state of Florida. So, our assets are primarily positioned out of the state now,” he said.
Many of the people and assets who responded to Hurricane Harvey in Texas will be re-deployed to respond to Irma, Brown said.
“Although the storms are different and their threats are a little bit different, we’ll take the lessons learned from our recent experience with Hurricane Harvey and apply it to responding to Hurricane Irma,” Brown said.
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