Hurricane Irma's trail of destruction

Police patrolling a street in San Juan, Puerto Rico, last Wednesday as Hurricane Irma slammed across islands in the northern Caribbean. Pleasure craft lying crammed against the shore in Paraquita Bay as the eye of Hurricane Irma passed Tortola, on th
Police patrolling a street in San Juan, Puerto Rico, last Wednesday as Hurricane Irma slammed across islands in the northern Caribbean. PHOTO: REUTERS
Police patrolling a street in San Juan, Puerto Rico, last Wednesday as Hurricane Irma slammed across islands in the northern Caribbean. Pleasure craft lying crammed against the shore in Paraquita Bay as the eye of Hurricane Irma passed Tortola, on th
Debris littering a street near Marigot on the French Caribbean island of St Martin last Friday in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Police patrolling a street in San Juan, Puerto Rico, last Wednesday as Hurricane Irma slammed across islands in the northern Caribbean. Pleasure craft lying crammed against the shore in Paraquita Bay as the eye of Hurricane Irma passed Tortola, on th
Pleasure craft lying crammed against the shore in Paraquita Bay as the eye of Hurricane Irma passed Tortola, on the British Virgin Islands last Wednesday. PHOTO: REUTERS

SEPT 6

Hurricane Irma hits the twin Caribbean islands of Barbuda and Antigua with sustained winds reaching 290kmh, making it a Category 5 hurricane and the most powerful Atlantic storm in a century.

Barbuda, home to 1,800 people, suffers the brunt of the damage, with communication lines wiped out and 95 per cent of properties damaged, rendering half the population homeless and the island reduced to rubble.

Antigua escapes major damage. SEPT 7 The hurricane sweeps through the Caribbean islands towards Florida.

Eight people are killed in Puerto Rico, and the island is plunged into darkness. More than a million people do not have electricity and 200,000 residents are without water.

At least 10 people are killed on the French Caribbean island territories of St Martin and St Barthelemy. Power is knocked out on both islands. Widespread shortages of drinking water, food and fuel result in looting on St Martin, which is home to 80,000 people.

Cuba begins evacuating about 51,000 tourists, most of whom are on the picturesque northern coast.

SEPT 8

Irma slams into British outpost Turks and Caicos Islands, causing 6m-high waves and bringing down communication. A state of emergency is declared on the British Virgin Islands after four people are killed, and homes and hospitals flattened. Fire and police stations also reportedly collapse.

In Anguilla, officials report one death and extensive damage to the airport, hospitals, shelters and schools, with 90 per cent of roads being impassable.

Hurricane Jose follows in Irma's wake, strengthening to a Category 4 hurricane packing winds of 241kmh. Category 1 Hurricane Katia is downgraded to a tropical storm as it slows after striking the eastern coast of Mexico.

SEPT 9

Irma strikes Camaguey Archipelago in Cuba with 260kmh winds. Cuban government officials report "significant damage" in parts of the island's centre without providing further details, but say there are as yet no confirmed casualties. More than a million people on the Caribbean's largest island have been evacuated as a precaution.

The hurricane barrels towards southern Florida, where 5.6 million people have been evacuated, turning glitzy Miami into a ghost town. Irma has weakened slightly to a Category 4 storm but still packs powerful winds of up to 249kmh.

SOURCES: REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 10, 2017, with the headline 'Hurricane Irma's trail of destruction'. Print Edition | Subscribe