Hurricane Irma pummelled Florida on Sunday, killing three people after causing at least 27 deaths in a multi-billion-dollar rampage through the Caribbean.
Irma churned over the lower Florida Keys islands as a Category Four hurricane before making a second landfall on the peninsula’s southwestern coast as a Category Three storm, packing winds of 115 miles (185 kilometers) per hour and torrential rain.
A second Category Four hurricane, Jose, followed part of Irma’s track, but spared the storm-hit Caribbean islands of St Martin and St Barts, which had already suffered catastrophic damage from Irma.
Jose, veering north towards the mid-Atlantic, is expected to pose no threat to the United States.
Toll from Irma
The death toll is at least 30: 14 in the French island of St Barts and the Dutch-French territory of St Martin; six in the British Caribbean islands; at least four in the US Virgin Islands; at least two in Puerto Rico; and one in Barbuda. Three other deaths occurred in Florida due to car accidents sparked by strong winds and torrential rain.
The International Red Cross says 1.2 million people have already been affected by Irma — a number that could rise to 26 million.
The bill for loss and damage could hit $120 billion (100 billion euros) in the United States and Caribbean, according to data modelling firm Enki Research.
Irma hit the tiny Caribbean island of Barbuda on Wednesday with winds up to 295 kph. The island suffered “absolute devastation,” with up to 30 percent of properties demolished, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said.
One person is known to have died on the island of 1,600 residents, apparently a child whose family was trying to get to safer ground.
St Martin, St Barts and Anguilla
The holiday islands of St Martin and St Barts, also hit on Wednesday, suffered the highest toll among Caribbean victims of Irma.
St Martin is divided between France and the Netherlands. France said 10 people had died on its side of the island, while the Netherlands said the storm killed four on the Dutch side, called Sint Maarten.
On the Dutch side, 70 percent of the infrastructure has been destroyed.
France and the Netherlands are rushing in logistical support, as well as hundreds of extra police to clamp down on looting.
French aid includes helicopters, engineering equipment, medical supplies and a million litres (265,000 gallons) of water, as the three water-treatment plants will be knocked out for months.
French President Emmanuel Macron will arrive in St Martin Tuesday.
In the British archipelago of Anguilla, one man was crushed to death in a house collapse.
British Virgin Islands
Five people were killed in the British Virgin Islands, according to the local government.
Just east of Puerto Rico, it is home to roughly 28,000 people and includes British billionaire Richard Branson’s Necker Island.
US Virgin Islands
At least four people were killed in the US Virgin Islands, officials told AFP.
At least two people were killed in the US territory of Puerto Rico, and more than half of its three million residents were without power after rivers broke their banks in the centre and north of the island.
Some 20,000 people were evacuated and more than 2,000 homes affected by floods in the Dominican Republic, the eastern part of the island of Hispaniola, which is also shared with Haiti.
Irma brought flooding and caused injuries in Haiti, but passed further north than had been forecast, sparing the impoverished island the worst. A number of roads were washed out.
Irma made landfall on the island’s Camaguey Archipelago late Friday, knocking down power lines, uprooting trees and ripping the roofs off homes.
Authorities said they had evacuated more than a million people as a precaution, including about 4,000 in the capital.
Ambulances and firefighters patrolled streets littered with hunks of roofs, power lines and tree branches brought down by strong winds that blasted over Cuba on Saturday.
Irma: Where next?
Irma is tracking along the Florida’s western coast, which faces the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal cities of Naples and Fort Myers and Tampa Bay with storm surges of up to 15 feet (4.5 meters), according to the National Hurricane Center.
The US military is mobilising thousands of troops and deploying several large ships to help with evacuations and humanitarian relief. A total of 6.3 million people have been asked to leave their homes in Florida.
A state of emergency has been declared in Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia, as well as in Florida. Georgia ordered the evacuation of the city of Savannah and other coastal areas.
More than one million Florida homes and businesses were without power, according to utility company Florida Power and Light.
President Donald Trump said on Sunday he would go to Florida “very soon” to assess relief efforts.
Hurricanes Jose and Katia
Hurricane Jose, after strengthening to Category Four status, passed 135 kilometres (83 miles) north of St Barts and 125 kilometres from Saint Martin.
France’s meteorological agency issued its highest warning, saying Jose could become a “dangerous event of exceptional intensity”.
But “thanks to a passage which was further away than anticipated, the effects on the territory were markedly less,” the meteorological agency said.
Another hurricane, Katia, made landfall in eastern Mexico late Friday killing two people, just as the country grappled with the deaths and damage inflicted by its worst earthquake in a century