Millions of US state of Florida residents have been ordered to evacuate after Hurricane Irma killed at least 25 people in the eastern Caribbean and left destruction in its wake.
One of the fiercest Atlantic storms in a century, Irma weakened on Saturday to Category Four and then to a Category Three, packing 205km
It was expected to strengthen again before hitting Florida on Sunday morning, bringing massive damage from wind and flooding to the fourth-largest US state by population.
The National Hurricane Center warned the storm surge in some areas could be as high at 4.6 metres. It said the surge flooding could cause “life threatening” conditions throughout central and southern Florida. The United States has been hit by only three Category Five storms since 1851, and Irma is far larger than the last one in 1992, Hurricane Andrew, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
A total of 5.6 million people, or 25 percent of the state’s population, were ordered to evacuate Florida.
out nine million people in Florida may lose power, some for weeks, said Florida Power & Light Co, which serves almost half of the state’s 20.6 million residents.
Amid the exodus, nearly one-third of all petrol stations in Florida’s metropolitan areas were out of gasoline, with scattered outages in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, according to Gasbuddy.com, a retail fuel price tracking service.
Source: News agencies