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Photos show Floridians picking up the pieces after Irma

by Erica K. Landau
Sep 11 2017, 4:41pm

Irma is the storm that even hurricane-hardened Floridians were scared of. It has left at least two people dead in the state and displaced thousands. And as the downgraded behemoth continues to drench North Florida, people downstate are trickling out of doors to survey the damage — to the extent they can, with power lines down, streets impassable, bridges blocked, and whole neighborhoods flooded.

Residents of the Florida Keys are anxious to learn if their homes and boats — often one and the same for many in the “Conch Republic” — are where they left them.

Even in Miami, spared the worst by a last-minute shift in Irma’s path, boats and cars sit overturned on pavement, roofs lie next to the homes and schools they once covered, and supposedly hurricane-proof construction cranes dangle sections of snapped metal rigging hundreds of feet above public streets. More than 6 million are without power, and they have no hard date for restoration of their lights, appliances, and sense of normalcy.

READ: What it’s like to fly into a Category 5 hurricane

Here’s a look at how Florida coped before and after Irma:

Floridians sat in traffic for hours to escape Irma. They scrambled in every direction, north and west at first, and for some, back east when Irma’s trajectory shifted westward.

Heavy traffic on Interstate 75 moves slowly, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, in Forrest Park, South of Atlanta. A massive evacuation has clogged Florida's major highways. So what they are doing is opening up the shoulders to drivers on Interstate 75 from Wildwood, where the Florida turnpike ends, to the Georgia state line. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Those who hit the road found empty pumps and gas shortages across the state. Residents downloaded the GasBuddy app 350,000 times in anticipation of Irma, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A gas pump is covered after a gas station ran out of gas, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, in Miami. South Florida officials are expanding evacuation orders as Hurricane Irma approaches, telling more than a half-million people to seek safety inland. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

For those who couldn’t leave, wanted to stay close to home, or simply didn’t take Irma seriously until it was too late, shelters were opened as a last resort. More than 585 shelters opened their doors, with many packed to capacity across Florida. As the storm dissipated, they housed approximately 200,000 people.

Annette Davis kisses her son Darius, 3, while staying at a shelter in Miami after evacuating from their home in Florida City, Fla., ahead of Hurricane Irma Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Trees whipped back like rubber bands and crashed to the pavement as Irma’s wind gusts hit 160 miles per hour around the storm’s eye.

Recently planted palm trees lie strewn across the road as Hurricane Irma passes by, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Miami Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Along with life-threatening winds, Hurricane Irma produced huge storm surges, with some places facing a water wall as high as 8 feet. Here, people walk on the Tampa Bay floor; the Bay is usually four feet deep. Irma, with the help of a low tide, sucked the water out.

People walk out on to what is normally four feet of water in Old Tampa Bay, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. Hurricane Irma, and an unusual low tide pushed water out almost hundreds of yards. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Irma slammed into the Florida Keys as a Category 4, producing white-out conditions all the way up the west coast to Naples.

The eye of Hurricane Irma passes through Naples, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Key Largo after Irma.

A person walks through the flooded streets of a trailer park in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, in Key Largo, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Three construction cranes snapped in Miami from the storm winds over the weekend. Developers fought efforts in 2008 to further regulate the cranes, according to the Miami Herald.

A crane atop a high-rise under construction in downtown Miami collapsed Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, amid strong winds from Hurricane Irma. The crane collapsed in a bayfront area filled with hotels and high-rise condo and office buildings, near AmericanAirlines Arena, according to a tweet from the City of Miami. (Gideon J. Ape via AP)

A couple in Bonita Springs, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, surveys the damage.

Kelly McClenthen returns to see the flood damage to her home with her boyfriend Daniel Harrison in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Bonita Springs, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

A man surveys the damage to a neighborhood on Marco Island, just northwest of the Florida Keys.

A roof is strewn across a home's lawn as Rick Freedman checks his neighbor's damage from Hurricane Irma in Marco Island, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Evacuees waited anxiously for police to open the road leading back to the Florida Keys. Keys officials, however, made it quite clear Monday that the area was closed indefinitely.

Local residents wait for the reopening of the entry road for the Florida Keys road after Hurricane Irma strikes Florida, in Homestead, Florida, U.S., September 11, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria - RC12FC7D1150
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