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Hurricane Irma: A long night in Miami waiting out the storm

By North America correspondent Conor Duffy, Monday September 11, 2017 - 11:28 EST
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As flood waters rose on the street below, this hotel issued a voluntary order to move to a windowless shelter on level five. - ABC

The dangerous hum from outside the hurricane-proof window began not long after dark on Friday.

It was time to stash the equipment in the bathroom and fill the tub to add to our water supply.

At first the noise came in waves followed by much lighter wind and rain.

By the early hours of Sunday morning the throbbing hum was punctuated by the occasional roar.

Transformers would explode and light up the sky in the distance.

The sound of steel and heavy items flapping in strong winds rang out in the air, a bit like someone blowing on glass but with a much stronger grating, anxious edge.

There was also the sound of warning sirens.

By breakfast time that would be punctuated by loud bangs as the smaller, weaker pieces of buildings around us were torn off.

Just before 8:00am, the hotel issued this voluntary order to move to a windowless shelter on level five.

Just after 9:00am the police announced they were bunkering down and the city was on its own.

All of this in a city that missed the eye and the worst of the storm.

Happily our power stayed on.

There was an occasional car on the street and The Weather Channel reporters mostly managed to stay standing on the nearby docks.

As floodwaters and inundation rose into Sunday afternoon the streets below us became impassable.

Our street, Brickell Avenue, became a focus for local news crews but we were safe, high and dry.

Though I think, Mr Hotel Manager, we will need to extend our stay.

The length and breadth of Irma — shutting us down from not long after curfew on Saturday until mid-to-late on Sunday was staggering.

That is in its weakened state after .

Our own night was trivial compared to what most people here experienced.

This is what it was like in the safe part of the city in a modern secure building. .

They had their own families to worry about, the dread of losing their home and plenty of time to think about it in the dark.

The west of the state will also feel the full brunt of Irma's winds.

When the storm retreats the full extent of the damage will become clear.

We really hope most people had a night as relatively easy as ours.


© ABC 2017

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