Hurricane Irma is continuing to lash Florida. More 5.7 millions homes (58%) are without power in Florida and scores of people have been rescued. More than 160,000 people are thought to be waiting out the storm in shelters across the state. Now a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph, Hurricane Irma is about 50 miles east-northeast of Fort Myers, Florida, moving north at 14 mph.
Some 6.4 million Floridians had been ordered to evacuate, more than a quarter of Florida’ population, amid warnings they would be “on their own” if they stayed. Of those who stayed 100,000 were in shelters, but some chose to remain in their own homes.
TV crews have already caught locals looting in Fort Lauderdale. Looting is a major concern for residents during mandatory evacuations, and a reason some people refuse to leave their property behind. In many disasters, police and National Guard troops patrol the streets to help allay such fears, but Irma’s strong winds have prompted some public safety agencies to temporarily withdraw from the streets.Despite dangerous winds and heavy rain from Hurricane Irma, several looting incidents have been reported in Fort Lauderdale. Local 10 cameras caught a group breaking into the Simon’s Sportswear on Sunrise Blvd. and Powerline Road. The group of about 8-9 people broke through the front window and were seen walking in and then walking out with stolen items.A group then began looting a Footlocker in the same area. It’s not known whether the groups were the same. South Florida law enforcement officials promised to police the streets to prevent looting, but with unsafe winds currently pummeling the region, it’s not known if units are currently on patrol.
“Going to prison over a pair of sneakers is a fairly bad life choice,” Fort Lauderdale Police Department chief Rick Maglione said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“Stay home and look after your loved ones and be thankful they are safe.”
— WPLG Local 10 News (@WPLGLocal10) September 10, 2017
Irma had been one of the most powerful hurricanes ever seen in the Atlantic, killing 28 people in the Caribbean and pummelling Cuba with 11m, waves on Sunday.
Its arrival in the US forced one of the largest evacuations in American history.