Hurricane Irma leaves path of destruction

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A Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office deputy patrols Boynton Beach Inlet Park as Hurricane Irma arrives on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (Jim Rassol/Sun SentinelTNS)

Isolated in their homes, millions of families in Florida prepared for Hurricane Irma, which was recorded as the strongest in recent history that left a path of destruction.

“What we preach big time here is that safety is first. Irma is not a force to be reckoned with, so we want everybody to stay safe.  We are trying to get everybody back to their normal day-to-day lives so everybody can be happy,” Peter Barica, Florida Power and Light (FPL) representative, said.

First arriving at around 2:30 a.m. in Florida on Saturday, Sept. 9, Irma brought devastating 85 mph tropical storm force winds and heavy rainfall. Irma developed near the Cape Verde Islands but within days became a Category 5 with 185 mph winds on Wednesday, Sept. 6.

“The winds were so strong, when I looked out the window, I saw a tree being whipped around, and I was terrified about what was going to happen,” Leonie Okunyade, seventh grade communications major, said.

Known as one of the most intense hurricanes since Wilma and Katrina in 2005, Irma affected the areas of the Virgin Islands, Key West, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos Islands, the Bahamas, and Florida, costing a total of around $35 billion.

“Always consider any storm to be a threat and put up their shutters. If their home is not a safe home they should go to one of the shelters,” Damien Ferraiolo, Delray Beach police officer, said.

After getting the news of Irma, Governor Rick Scott directed the closure of all public schools starting Sept. 7 through Sept. 18. Students will have to make up extra days on Oct. 16, Nov. 3, and Jan. 8.

John Wagner, firefighter and paramedic, said, “Irma impacted our lives greatly-it was a very serious matter that we had to take care of and in the end, it’s your life and your family that matter the most, extra things can be replaced, but loved ones are irreplaceable.”