Hurricane Irma: 2 years later, changes and lessons learned

By Ashley Harding - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - As residents in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia are settling down following Hurricane Dorian, others are remembering Hurricane Irma and its destruction. 

Wednesday marks two years since Irma tore through the First Coast and Golden Isles, leaving millions of dollars in damage in its wake. Residents experienced severe weather on a scale many had not seen in decades.

READ MORE: The Flood and Fury of Hurricane Irma

Some people were impacted in ways they have yet to fully recover from.   

The powerful storm pummeled the Keys and led to the worst flooding in Jacksonville's 250-year history. Irma's position and the flow of the St. Johns River combined to spell out disaster.

The hurricane brought coastal wind and rain that forced many to evacuate their homes.

City leaders referred to Irma as a wake-up call for the First Coast. Major flooding could be seen throughout downtown. It's hard to forget the flooding in front of the Jax Chamber as part of a sign and the road leading up to the Main Street Bridge was underwater.

The effects of Irma were felt in St. Johns County as well where some neighborhoods were underwater for weeks following the storm.

A home in Vilano Beach that collapsed into the ocean gave a glimpse of Hurricane Irma's fury and severity.

The flooding even took over the iconic Castillo de San Marcos. 

The Category 4 hurricane broadsided Cudjoe Key, Florida, on Sept. 10 and churned north across the entire peninsula. The storm had weakened to Category 1 by the time the eye passed about 100 miles west of Jacksonville in the early morning hours of Sept. 11. 

One of the storm’s most lasting impacts was on nursing homes. New regulations were put in place after 12 people died when a Hollywood Hills nursing home lost power.

READ MORE: Florida to require nursing home generators after Irma deaths

As of last month, the state has fined more than 280 facilities for not following the new emergency power rules.

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