By Tyler Parker
During the first week of September, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic battered several islands off the coast of Florida. This category five hurricane caused millions of dollars worth of damage and left thousands injured and without a home. Its name was Irma.
Hurricane Irma was one of the worst hurricanes since 1966 in that sustained winds of over 185 miles per hour at its peak. Covering 70,000 square miles, the tropical storm force winds left a trail of destruction and ruin in its wake.
One of the islands that was most affected by Irma was the small island of Barbuda. 95% of all buildings on the island suffered some form of structural damage. The prime minister of Barbuda compared Irma to a bomb hitting the island. Another island ruined by the storm was the island of St. Martin. 75% of its buildings were damaged or destroyed completely.
After devastating the Caribbean islands, Irma moved up toward Florida. It was expected to be one of the most dangerous storms ever to hit. Over 6.3 million people were estimated to have evacuated Florida before the storm, causing roads to be swamped with cars. “We have family friends that live near Tampa and they got hit. They didn’t evacuate. I’m not sure how much damage was done, but everyone is safe,” ninth grader Mary Grace Flowers said.
One of the biggest problems during Irma was power loss. In south Florida over 18 million people lost power, while on many of the Caribbean islands almost everywhere was dark. Currently there is an estimated death toll of 30 people with thousands more injured. Although Irma lost power quickly and didn’t hit Florida as hard as many predicted, it has still changed the lives of thousands of people who may never regain all that they lost.