The eye of Hurricane Wilma has begun slamming into southern Florida, the seventh powerful storm to hit the region this year. Coastal areas are being pounded with gale force winds and rain, raising fears there could be substantial damage. Tornadoes have also formed.
Many people have stayed in their homes, despite an earlier appeal by Governor Jeb Bush. He said: “I cannot emphasise enough to the folks that live in the Florida Keys that a hurricane is coming, and a hurricane is a hurricane. It has deadly force winds. Perhaps people are saying “I’m going to hunker down.” They shouldn’t do that. They should evacuate.” Only about 40 percent of residents have decided to play it safe and evacuate their homes. Hurricane Wilma also now has company. Tropical storm Alpha has brought torrential rain and flooding to the Dominican Republic, leaving at least five people dead there. And the damage left behind by Wilma along Mexico’s Caribbean resorts is only now coming to light. Buildings have been severely damaged and many trees uprooted. Cuba also suffered widespread damage. At least 17 people have been killed across the Caribbean.