After more than a week of anticipation and dire warnings from public officials, Hurricane Irma battered the Florida coast Sunday. The storm, which made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Sunday morning, spurred widespread evacuations from the state, although not everyone decided to get out.
As photos and videos taken from the various scenes of the storms show, however, Hurricane Irma has brought ferocious winds and the potential for catastrophic storm surges with it.
Whether by way of wind, rain and flooding, or the effects of both on Miami’s infrastructure, it’s clear to see why local authorities were so insistent that south Florida residents evacuate to safer areas. The governor even declared a state of emergency in all 67 of Florida’s counties before Irma touched down, speaking to the seriousness with which state officials viewed the storm.
Perhaps the most startling sight, very similar to the images that came out of Hurricane Harvey’s arrival in the greater Houston area two weeks ago, is that of massive flooding that’s turned Miami’s streets into nothing less than urban rivers. This has been particularly felt in Brickell, a downtown Miami neighborhood that includes the city’s financial sector.
Needless to say, the scenes from the ground look intense, hazardous, and quite dystopic. Miami had already struggled with flooding in recent years, a phenomenon many experts have blamed on climate change and its resulting rising sea levels.
WATCH: A 2nd large crane has collapsed and is dangling from a high-rise building that is under construction in Miami – @MikeSpearsNBC6 pic.twitter.com/Z5vnKx50wx— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) September 10, 2017
Miami – near the airport pic.twitter.com/1zpENyM1x2— Mark Sudduth (@hurricanetrack) September 10, 2017
It’s unclear exactly how long Hurricane Irma will continue or how much more water will be dumped on Florida, but from the first images that have emerged, the state is already being hit with a disastrous amount of rain and heavy winds.