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Tampabay.com - Reporting with a camera

Stunning photos from Caribbean give sense of Hurricane Irma's destructive power

This Sept. 6, 2017 photo shows storm damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in St. Martin. Irma cut a path of devastation across the northern Caribbean, leaving thousands homeless after destroying buildings and uprooting trees. Significant damage was reported on the island known as St. Martin in English which is divided between French Saint-Martin and Dutch Sint Maarten.

Jonathan Falwell via AP

This Sept. 6, 2017 photo shows storm damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in St. Martin. Irma cut a path of devastation across the northern Caribbean, leaving thousands homeless after destroying buildings and uprooting trees. Significant damage was reported on the island known as St. Martin in English which is divided between French Saint-Martin and Dutch Sint Maarten.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — French, British and Dutch military authorities rushed aid to a devastated string of Caribbean islands Thursday after Hurricane Irma left at least 11 people dead and thousands homeless as it spun toward Florida for what could be a catastrophic blow this weekend.

Warships and planes were dispatched with food, water and troops after the fearsome Category 5 storm smashed homes, schools and roads, laying waste to some of the world's most beautiful and exclusive tourist destinations.

The hurricane was still north of the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Thursday evening, sweeping the neighboring nations on Hispaniola island with high winds and rain while battering the Turks and Caico islands on its other side.

Big waves smashed a dozen homes into rubble in the Dominican fishing community of Nagua, but work crews said all the residents had left before the storm. Officials said 11,200 people in all had evacuated vulnerable areas, while 55,000 soldiers had been deployed to help the cleanup. …

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All Eyes: Tampa Bay prepares for Hurricane Irma (w/video)

Jackie Kreuter, 56, (right) of Gulfport, FL, tosses pool furniture in the pool Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017 so it doesn't fly around during the impending hurricane. Kreuter, along with her mother, husband, sister, daughter, grandson, five dogs and a bird are boarding up their home and business and leaving for Ocala to get out of Hurricane Irma's way. "It's a mad dash to get everything done on time," said Kreuter, a 20-year resident of Florida who was supposed to go on a Caribbean cruise this week.

LARA CERRI | Times

Jackie Kreuter, 56, (right) of Gulfport, FL, tosses pool furniture in the pool Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017 so it doesn't fly around during the impending hurricane. Kreuter, along with her mother, husband, sister, daughter, grandson, five dogs and a bird are boarding up their home and business and leaving for Ocala to get out of Hurricane Irma's way. "It's a mad dash to get everything done on time," said Kreuter, a 20-year resident of Florida who was supposed to go on a Caribbean cruise this week.

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday suspended all tolls in Florida, another sign that the state is preparing for the worst as Hurricane Irma strengthened into a Category 5 storm with wind speeds now up to 185 mph. The storm is now the most powerful seen in the Atlantic in over a decade, and roared westerly toward islands in the northeast Caribbean Tuesday with an inevitable turn to the north upcoming, according to the National Hurricane Center. 

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