Irma wrecks Florida Keys

By AFP September 13,2017

A fallen tree toppled by Hurricane Irma blocks a street in downtown Miami.
/AFP

Millions of Florida residents were without power and extensive damage was reported in the Florida Keys, but most of the Sunshine State appeared to have dodged forecasts of catastrophic damage from Hurricane Irma.

The monster storm roared ashore as a powerful Category 4 hurricane when it hit the Keys southern island chain on Sunday, ripping boats from their moorings, flattening palm trees and downing power lines, after devastating a string of Caribbean islands.

By the time it hit the peninsula, the storm had been downgraded and weakened further to a tropical depression late Monday.

But while Florida may have escaped the worst, the death toll jumped to at least 40 after Cuba said 10 people had been killed there over the weekend as Irma spun northward.

Across the Caribbean, hard-hit residents struggled to get back on their feet as Britain, France, the Netherlands and the United States ramped up relief efforts for their overseas territories.

Florida residents who spent an anxious night huddled indoors were venturing out Monday to survey the damage, which did not seem to be as bad as initially feared.

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