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Hurricane Irma Carves Path of Destruction in Caribbean

Hurricane Irma ripped through a string of Caribbean islands, leaving flattened homes, flooding and widespread devastation.

People move through flooded streets in Havana after the passage of Hurricane Irma on Sept. 10, 2017.

From Cuba to Antigua, Caribbean islanders began counting the cost of Hurricane Irma on Sunday after the brutal storm left a trail of death, destruction and chaos that could take the tourist-dependent region years to recover from.

The ferocious Category 5 storm, which killed at least 28 people across the region, devastated housing, power supplies and communications, leaving some small islands almost cut off from the world.

 

Ramon Espinosa / AP

Waves crash into El Morro in Havana on Sept. 10.

Ramon Espinosa / AP

A man swims on a flooded street in Havana on Sept. 10.

Ernesto Mastrascusa / EPA

Residents walk on Havana's sea wall as the ocean crashes into it after the passing of Hurricane Irma in Havana on Sept. 10.

Ramon Espinosa / AP

A man stands in his flooded home after the passing of Hurricane Irma in Havana on Sept. 10.

Stringer / Reuters

A man wades through a flooded street in Havana on Sept. 10.

Yamil Lage / AFP - Getty Images

Residents walk near downed power lines felled by Hurricane Irma, in Caibarien, Cuba on Sept. 9. There were no reports of deaths or injuries after heavy rain and winds from Irma lashed northeastern Cuba. Seawater surged three blocks inland in Caibarien.

Desmond Boylan / AP

Damaged boats are seen in Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Yachts were pilled on top of each other in harbor and many houses in the hillside capital of Road Town on the main island of Tortola were badly damaged. 

Joel Rouse/Royal Navy/MoD / via Reuters

Toppled trees lie next to damaged buildings in Philipsburg, on the Caribbean island of St. Martin, on Sept. 6, 2017. Hurricane Irma sowed a trail of deadly devastation through the Caribbean on Wednesday, reducing both St. Martin and Barbuda to rubble.

No other storm in recorded history has maintained top winds of 185 mph for 37 hours.

Colorado State University hurricane expert Phil Klotzbach says that breaks the previous record, held by Typhoon Haiyan, which had similar top winds for 24 hours before it hit the Philippines and killed 6,000 people in 2013.

Irma also has been the most intense Atlantic hurricane on record outside the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, measured by its barometric pressure of 914 millibars.

PHOTO: Triple Threat: Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Katia Visible from Space

Gerben van Es / Dutch Department of Defense via AFP - Getty Images

Debris is scattered on the ground on Sept. 6. after the passage of Hurricane Irma in St. Martin.

Jonathan Falwell

Damage from Hurricane Irma on Maho Beach and the airport of St. Martin on Sept. 6.

Gerben van Es / Dutch Department of Defense via AFP - Getty Images

Surf washes against homes in St. Martin on Sept. 6. 

Irma, the strongest Atlantic Ocean hurricane on record, has affected French, British and Dutch Caribbean territories.

Dutch department of Defense / via Reuters

An overturned car and other debris lie in Orient Bay on the French Caribbean island of St. Martin  on Sept. 6, after the passage of Hurricane Irma.

Lionel Chamoiseau / AFP - Getty Images

A flooded street on the island of St. Martin on Sept. 6.

Rinsy Xieng / Twitter via AFP - Getty Images

Cars are piled on top of one another in Marigot, near the Bay of Nettle in St. Martin on Sept. 6.

Lionel Chamoiseau / AFP - Getty Images

The Hotel Mercure is flooded in Marigot, St. Martin on Sept. 6.

Lionel Chamoiseau / AFP - Getty Images

Wreckage fills a street in Gustavia on Saint Barthelemy, a French-speaking Caribbean island commonly known as St. Barts, on Sept. 6. 

Kevin Barrallon / Facebook via AFP - Getty Images

Waves batter a stranded ship in Fajardo, Puerto Rico on Sept. 6.

Puerto Rico was spared a direct hit from Hurricane Irma, but more than a million people were left without power. 

Alvin Baez / Reuters

People pick up debris in Fajardo, Puerto Rico on Sept. 6.

Alvin Baez / Reuters

A rescue team inspects flooded areas in Fajardo, Puerto Rico on Sept. 6.

Jose Jimenez / Getty Images

A man takes cover in his van before the imminent passage of the hurricane in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Sept. 6.

Thais Llorca / EPA

A man looks at a vehicle turned upside down by winds brought on by Hurricane Irma in the British overseas territory of Anguilla on Sept. 6.

Garson Kelsick / AP

Fishermen remove their wooden boat from the sea as a precaution against Hurricane Irma, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Sept. 6.

Haiti is expected to be spared a direct hit from Hurricane Irma but heavy rains and high surf could trigger dangerous floods in the impoverished country.

Dieu Nalio Chery / AP

People walk on a street covered in debris as Hurricane Irma moves off from the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, in Nagua, on Sept. 7.

Ricardo Rojas / Reuters

Buildings are missing their roofs in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma on St. Martin in the Caribbean on Sept. 6.

The Hurricane Center has predicted that Irma will remain at Category 4 or 5 for the next day or two as it passes the Turks and Caicos, parts of the Bahamas by Thursday night, and skirts Cuba on Friday night into Saturday.

It will then likely head north toward Florida, where people were rushing to board up homes, fill cars with gasoline and find a route to safety.

Related: Hurricane Jose to Give Irma-Battered Islands Another Lashing

Dutch Department of Defense / via Reuters