Mass exodus as Hurricane Irma eyes Florida, batters Cuba

Mass exodus as Hurricane Irma eyes Florida, batters Cuba

Another 125 emergency rescues were made in less than an hour Monday in Orange County, home to Orlando - an inland city to which many coastal residents had evacuated before the hurricane. That height of water would easily flood the first floors of most hotels, homes, and condos.

More than 6 million homes and businesses were still without power in Florida and nearby states.

Cuba evacuated tourists from beachside resorts after Hurricane Irma left at least 20 people dead and thousands homeless on a devastated string of Caribbean islands and spun toward Florida for what could be a catastrophic blow this weekend.

Though, Carroll said, there's concern for flash flooding in some areas as bands from Irma, expected to turn into a tropical storm, could carry 1 to 2 inches of rainfall per hour. Officials said the National Guard has arrived in the island chain, and state transportation officials have cleared six of 42 bridges as safe for travel. That's a lot of activity for the Atlantic, which averaged 12 named storms and six hurricanes per season between 1981 and 2010.

Florida may be weeks away from stability.

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Speaking on "Fox News Sunday" as Irma began its assault on Florida on Sunday morning, Long called the storm a "complex event" in particular because of its movement from the southern part of the state to the north.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told an investor conference in NY that the storm would ultimately boost the economy by sparking rebuilding. County officials said crews are working to reopen the major United States 1 route as quickly as possible. It's too early to tell what the exact estimates will be, but I think it won't have a bad impact on the economy.

"Several of the deaths caused by Irma came as people started cleaning up and making repairs".

Winds knocked a utility pole and power lines onto a sheriff's cruiser late yesterday in Polk County east of Tampa, illustrating the unsafe conditions for emergency personnel.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered in eight barrier islands along South Carolina's coast, beginning Saturday at 10 a.m. Gov. McMaster said Sunday that compliance with the evacuation order has been good, but sweeps for those remaining continue. A 5 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center said the center was about 65 miles southwest of Atlanta and 100 miles east-southeast of Birmingham, Ala.

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