Hurricane Irma was the most powerful Atlantic hurricane in recorded history. It was a Category 5 storm when it made landfall on Barbuda on September 6, 2017. Its winds were 185 miles per hour for 37 hours. That’s longer than any storm ever recorded. It beat Super Typhoon Haiyan, which maintained winds at that level for 24 hours in 2013.
1. As of September 23, 2017, the death toll was 102 people, including 75 in Florida. Of those, 11 seniors perished in a nursing home that lost its air conditioning. Fourteen people died in the Florida Keys.
2. Irma damaged 90 percent of the buildings on Barbuda.
3. It destroyed almost all communication, and left 60 percent of the population homeless.
4. The government evacuated 300 citizens to Antigua.
5. Florida officials ordered 6.5 million people to evacuate.There were 77,000 people in 450 shelters.
6. The most rain in the state fell on Fort Pierce. It received 15.9 inches.
7. The strongest winds at 142 mph hit Naples.
8. Early estimates put the impact to the economy at $100 billion. But damage could as high as $300 billion. That’s according to insurance company Swiss Re. It calculated that insured losses from a Category 5 storm would cost between $60 billion to $100 billion. But only 60 percent of buildings are insured for such a large hurricane.
9. On September 10 Irma was upgraded to a Category 4. It hit Cudjoe Key, 20 miles north of Key West, and then Naples. Miami didn’t get the core of Irma but still received life-threatening conditions.
10. The Florida Keys received 12 inches of rain and a 10-foot storm surge. Rainfall averaged 10-15 inches.
11. Global warming contributed to Irma’s impact in three ways. First is rising sea levels that make flooding more likely.
12. Second, the South Florida’s average August 2017 temperature is four tenths of a degree above normal. Florida’s average temperature from January through April 2017 was the warmest during that period on record.
13. Third, global warming slows weather patterns. That allowed Irma and other storms to move much slower than normal.
14. The total amount of fatalities from hurricane Irma are 134.
15. It destroyed Florida’s Disney World leaving it looking like a post-apocalyptic movie set