Hurricane Irma leaves its mark on Florida with incredible winds

HOUSTON - Hurricane Irma is now in the history books in Florida but its wrath will be a constant reminder in the days, weeks and months ahead. 

Irma made history by making landfall in the Florida Keys as a category four hurricane -- the first time in recorded history that two category four hurricanes have hit the U.S. back-to-back. The first category four storm was of course Harvey.

While Irma was a bad hurricane, it was not the worst hurricane Florida has ever seen, not by a long shot. Much stronger and more devastating hurricanes have hit in decades past including Andrew and the 1935 Labor Day hurricane. Irma pales in comparison compared to the utter devastation left behind by those two storms in the United States. 

Irma however may in fact be the strongest hurricane ever observed in the Leeward Islands where places like Barbuda and Sint Maarten were utterly decimated with winds that exceeded 180 mph.

Back in the U.S., while the winds weren't category 5 strength, they were still darn impressive for a storm that was weakening as it moved into downtown Naples.

Check out the observed wind gust speeds seen across Florida:

Naples: 142 mph

Everglades City: 130 mph

North Perry Airport near Hollywood: 109 mph

Miami International Airport: 99 mph

Fort Myers: 84 mph

Tampa: 66 mph

Orlando: 71 mph

Jacksonville: 86 mph

While the winds were impressive, the storm surge was incredible, too! In fact places like Jacksonville, Florida, a city that has a very scant history with hurricanes had a record storm surge downtown along the St. Johns River that caused massive and widespread flooding all over the north and south banks of the river.

Damage across the state has been widespread but mostly restricted to cosmetics with trees, powerlines and shingles. A lot of homes, especially in southwest Florida also saw some flooding due to surge.

For those wanting to get back to the Sunshine State, all airports remain closed as of this entry and power is out to over half the state. It could be many weeks before all customers are restored.

 

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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