- REUTERS/Chris Wattie
Hurricane Irma crashed into the Florida Keys on Sunday, then traveled up the state’s west coast, leaving flooding, power outages, and destruction in its wake.
The Category 5 monster storm, downgraded to a Category 4 by the time it made landfall, was forecasted to travel directly up the center of the peninsula at one point. That would have caused even more devastation than the estimated $30 billion to $50 billion the storm will likely cost the US.
By Tuesday, some areas were still flooded, and there was a lot of debris to clean up strewn on roads and lawns across Florida in particular. The storm’s massive storm surge, caused when its strong winds sucked the tide out from the coast then slammed walls of water back into the shore, were arguably Irma’s most dangerous feature, since it resulted in life-threatening flash flooding.
While residents in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Tennessee continue to survey the damage that Irma left behind, they can take some comfort in knowing that it could have been even worse.
Irma’s powerful eyewall traveled up Florida’s east coast, but the west coast got the worst of the rain and tornadoes as the outer rainbands churned powerful winds as they moved north.
The maximum wind gust that the National Weather Service recorded on the US mainland was 142 mph in Naples, Florida, and the maximum total rainfall was almost 16 inches in Fort Pierce, Florida. Here’s how much rain fell and how high the wind blew on the US mainland: