The damage caused by Hurricane Andrew in a neighborhood between Homestead and Florida City, Fla. The storm left a record $25 billion in damage and its impact on South Florida was the most significant. (AP)
Hurricane Irma threatens to severely damage some 8.5 million properties in Florida, analytics firm CoreLogic showed.
“An estimated 8,456,455 residential and commercial properties in Florida are at either ‘Extreme,’ ‘Very High’ or ‘High’ risk of wind damage from Hurricane Irma,” the firm said in a statement Friday.
Meanwhile, another estimated 3,494,735 residential and commercial properties in the state have a chance of being damaged by the powerful Category 4 storm.
CoreLogic’s analysis does not incorporate any possible damage from inland flooding.
The data includes homes that have four or fewer stories, duplexes, cabins, manufactured residences, mobile homes and “non-traditional home types.”
Meanwhile, Florida Power & Light estimated 9 million people out of 10 million who receive electricity from the utility company will lose power during the storm, the Sun Sentinel reported. Most of those who are expected to be affected live in the South Florida area.
The storm, which regained Category 5 status overnight, then dropped back to Category 4 early Saturday is churning toward Florida where it is expected to hit Sunday. The storm has already slammed into St. Martin, St. Barts, St. Thomas, Barbuda and Anguilla, where devastating damage was reported. Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico have also been hit but reported no major casualties. The storm, which has winds nearing 160 mph, has killed at least 23 people.
Strong winds and outer rain bands from Hurricane Irma began lashing Florida’s southern tip Saturday morning as dire warnings predicted pounding gales, heavy rain and potentially deadly storm surge from the Category 4 storm.
Irma’s sustained winds weakened Saturday to 130 mph as the storm skittered along Cuba’s northern coast toward the United States, but it was expected to regain strength as it turned toward Florida later in the day, the National Hurricane Center said. Hurricane conditions were expected beginning Saturday night in the Florida Keys and across southern and central Florida.
Irma’s eye was due to strike part of the Florida Keys early Sunday morning before driving up the state’s southwestern coast toward Tampa Bay by Sunday afternoon and into the night, according to the hurricane center.
“(The core) is forecast right now to still go through the lower keys, not quite to Key West, and then on up to Naples, on up to Cape Coral, with a Category 4 wind of 140 mph,” CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.
Even as Irma aimed for Florida’s western coast, the state’s eastern coastline remained in severe danger from storm-surge flooding, forecasters warned.
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