Hurricane Wilma has swept over Florida, killing at least four people and leaving some seven million people without electricity.
In the Florida Keys island chain, flooding left residents stranded on roofs while leaking propane tanks and gas lines caused small explosions.
During its four-hour rampage across the state, the category 3 hurricane caused widespread damage. Insured losses are estimated at between 5 billion and 8 billion euros.
President George W. Bush yesterday declared Florida a major disaster area, releasing federal funds.
Wilma arrived after sweeping over the Gulf of Mexico and killing 17 people across the Caribbean.
Wilma lashed Cuba with winds of 140 kilometres per hour, flooding coastal areas including the capital Havana. Meanwhile police in Mexico are trying to control looting from damaged shops. Today should see the first special flights evacuating tourists from Cancun. The state governor says there could be as many as 35,000 Mexican and foreign tourists waiting to leave.