Tropical Storm Irma, downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane this morning after spending much of Sunday ravaging Florida as a Category 2 storm, continued its path north toward Georgia with sustained winds of as much as 60 mph.
The hurricane scraped the Florida Keys Sunday morning, causing widespread devastation, based on social media pictures and videos, before hitting Marco Island as a Category 3 storm.
Reed Timmer of Accuweather tweeted this video of Summerland Key, Fla., in the lower Florida Keys today:
More than 6.5 million homes and businesses are without power, NPR reported, accounting for 60 percent of the state.
Irma was moving north-northwest at nearly 17 mph and was expected to continue in this direction through Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said in its 2 p.m. update.
On the forecast track the center of Irma will continue to move over southwestern Georgia today and into eastern Alabama Tuesday morning.
Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 60 mph, with higher gusts. Continued slow weakening is forecast. Irma is likely to become a tropical depression on Tuesday.
At least 60 percent of the gas stations in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area were without fuel this morning, CNN Money reported.
Weather Underground tweeted that the Florida Keys are facing a humanitarian crisis after the storm and a dusk-to-dawn curfew has been ordered.
National Weather Service meteorologist Taylor Trogdon tweeted this afternoon that record flooding in Jacksonville, Fla., would mean that the St. Johns River could not empty. Jacksonville was facing a “trifecta” of water-related threats, city officials told The New York Times: storm surge, heavy rainfall over the weekend and Monday’s rising tides.
“This is potentially a weeklong event, with water and the tides coming and going,” Mayor Lenny Curry said.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott cautioned residents that the worst of the storm itself may be over, but the storm surge and flash floods still pose a deadly threat, according to Fox News.
"I’m heading down to the Keys now with the Coast Guard to assess the damage there with the storm surge," Scott told the network. "The storm is still in our state. We’re getting flooding in the Jacksonville area, so we’re getting rescue teams there, on top of down to the southern part of our state.”
Marco Island, once in Irma’s eye, was also badly hit. The National Guard was assisting with rescue operations this morning, police told The New York Times.
Florida residents were still trying to get a sense of the damage inflicted this afternoon. Marine businesses were focused on the needs of employees and residents, rather than the extent of potential damage to boats.
“We are monitoring the situation, as we have throughout the weekend, but it is too early to truly tell, as the storm continues and recovery efforts are just underway in some places,” Brunswick Corp. spokesman Daniel Kubera told Trade Only.
“For example, in some cases we are awaiting clearance from officials to safely enter the area where we have facilities,” Kubera said. “All facilities remain closed today, which was our original plan, and we are checking on the welfare of employees and keeping them updated on the situation through various communication outreach.”
According to company reports received before the storm made landfall, Brunswick facilities throughout Florida were well secured and hurricane preparedness activities were fully implemented at all sites, Kubera said.
“Some great work has been done very quickly by our respective teams to prepare,” Kubera said. “Essential recovery supplies and materials have been delivered and pre-positioned to aid in the recovery of the operations, as well as to anticipate potential needs of our employees. This was particularly challenging for the logistics and MRO teams, given the evacuation-related traffic patterns, but again good work by our teams and suppliers got the job done.”
Photos of storm-damaged boats circulated in social media today.
The two photos above of the Coconut Grove Sailing Club in Miami were taken by Claudia De Oliveira and Felipe Barrera.
Jim Edds tweeted this photo of boats on the road at Big Pine Key:
BoatUS was sending a catastrophe response team to Florida in a fleet of RVs because housing might be scarce, Scott Croft, BoatUS vice president of public affairs, told Trade Only.
“It’s all hands on deck right now,” Croft said, adding that he will join the catastrophe team.
Yamaha Marine parent company Yamaha Motor Corp. closed its Kennesaw, Ga., facility today in advance of the pending storm, said marine communications and government relations senior manager Martin Peters.
Separately, the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference said there is no change at this time in the schedule or timing of the Sept. 19-21 show at the Tampa Convention Center because of the storm.
“We are contacting all our Tampa service providers now,” organizers said. “We will post an update here and on social media if there are any changes. … We are looking forward to a great show.”