Hurricane Irma will plow into south Florida this weekend, hitting a region that is home to 7 million people with some of the worst a hurricane can bring—150 mile an hour winds, devastating storm surges and heavy rains.
But as the storm crawled from the Atlantic into the Caribbean, it left a trail of devastation as well, including at least 22 deaths as of Friday, according to the Associated Press.
Dozens more have sustained injuries from the storm, which has vacillated between Categories 4 and 5 as it’s made landfall throughout the region.
The storm destroyed thousands of homes as well. On the tiny, 1,800-person island of Barbuda, 60 percent of residents were left homeless by the storm and 95 percent of the island’s buildings were damaged.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
“Barbuda is literally rubble,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda said in an interview with ABS TV/Radio Antigua, according to CNN.
And now the Caribbean is bracing itself again—this time for Hurricane Jose, a Category 4 storm that could hit islands that have already been leveled or heavily damaged by Irma.
At least four died on the French side of the island St. Martin from Irma, while at least one is dead on the Dutch side. More than 6,000 Americans are said to be stranded there, according to the Weather Channel.
At least one is dead in Anguilla, and a 2-year-old in Barbuda died as a family tried to escape their devastated home.
“There was so much water beating past us. We had to crawl to get to safety,” Stevet Jeremiah, the mother of the boy who died there, told AP. “I have never seen anything like this in my life, in all the years I experienced hurricanes. And I don't ever, ever, ever want to see something like this again. I have nothing.”
She told AP she was evacuating to Antigua, and would not come back to Barbuda.
At least four have been reported dead in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Despite the fact that the islands were relatively well prepared for the storm, according to Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, there was devastation throughout due to the overwhelming power of the winds.
“There wasn’t much that could be done,” Plaskett said.