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NASA astronaut captures eerie images of Hurricane Irma’s destruction from space

After sharing mind-boggling images of Hurricane Harvey’s impact in Texas a few weeks ago, NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik has taken to his Twitter account to do the same for Hurricane Irma’s devastating hit on the Caribbean as it plows into Florida.

>> Read more trending news

According to CNET, the ISS commander’s grim footage is taken from approximately 260 miles above Earth.

Some of his most shocking photos involve two comparisons of Turks and Caicos before and after Hurricane Irma’s wrath.

>> Related: 5 hacks to keep your smartphone charged during a power outage

Bresnik snapped this next shot on Sept. 7, just after the Category 5 storm and its record-breaking 185-mph winds devastated Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Turks and Caicos.

>> Related: Hurricane Irma: Why you should never use a generator during a storm

Two days later, the NASA astronaut captured Hurricane Jose creeping up near Irma.

>> Related: Hurricane Irma: How to use the internet during the storm when your internet is down 

And here’s Hurricane Irma plowing toward Florida on Saturday, Sept. 9.

Since then, Irma has been downgraded from Category 5 to a tropical storm, but only after taking at least five lives in Florida.

The storm killed more than 35 people in the Caribbean.

Evacuees find shelter in Atlanta: 'I can't believe all the wonderful people'

Metro Atlanta roads were stretched thin last week and through the weekend as people evacuated Florida as Hurricane Irma approached. Many people have horror stories about the mad dash to get out of the state and into Georgia ahead of the storm.

Along with worrying about whether their homes will be standing, evacuees told WSBTV.com that they are also concerned about what traffic will be like next week when everyone goes home.

>> Read more trending news

Evacuee John Glowacki said it took him five and a half hours to drive from the Georgia-Florida line to the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

He said he was trying to take his mind off whether or not his house would be standing when he returned to Florida. Still, he said, "I can't believe all of the wonderful people here.” 

Glowacki is one of hundreds of people who have spent the last few days at the campgrounds, which have been opened to evacuees.

Russel Gorniak, another evacuee, told WSBTV.com that "a 200-mile trip took me about 13 hours." 

But traffic improved on Interstate 75 in metro Atlanta over the weekend, compared to when evacuees filled the interstate during the week.

"I hope it's not like it was coming up here, but God only knows. Let's put it that way," Gorniak said. 

Another couple said they avoided traffic on the way to metro Atlanta, but missed out on a hotel. 

"We left Spring Hill after finding out there wasn't a hotel available within 500 miles," Gary Houston said.

He said now he's more concerned about the gas supply when it's time to get back on the road. 

Most people said since severe weather is expected in the metro Monday and Tuesday, they will wait until Wednesday to head back to Florida.

Baby killed in Georgia crash was a Florida evacuee

A baby who died Saturday night after being hit by a teen driver was one of thousands of Floridians who sought refuge in metro Atlanta due to the threat of Irma, according to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.

>> Read more trending news

Riley Hunt, 3 months, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, was in her mother’s arms when the 17-year-old driver of a Jeep Patriot struck them as they crossed Arnold Mill Road near the Northside Hospital Cherokee Amphitheater, sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Marianne Kelley said. 

“They were evacuees from Florida here staying with family and friends,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday.

The amphitheater had started its final concert of the season about an hour before authorities were dispatched to the crash at 8:16 p.m. Saturday.

Riley and her mother, 28-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt, were taken to a local hospital. Riley died later Saturday. Kaitlyn Hunt was in critical condition with “many broken bones and internal injuries,” Kelley said.

Another woman, 61-year-old Kathy Deming, of Marietta, was also hit and taken to the hospital in critical condition, the sheriff’s office said.

The condition of the teen driver was not known.

No charges have been filed in the crash, which remains under investigation. 

Irma was downgraded early Monday from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm, but still had winds near hurricane force, according to The Associated Press.

10-year-old Florida evacuee hit by car, killed in Georgia

After evacuating Florida ahead of Irma, a devastating storm that has battered the state, a 10-year-old boy was killed and his mother was injured when a driver hit them early Monday in metro Atlanta, police said. 

>> Read more trending news

The incident occurred about 1:20 a.m., during some sort of gathering in the 400 block of Barbashela Circle near Stone Mountain, DeKalb police Lt. Lonzy Robertson said.

A woman got into her Hyundai Sonata, which was parked in the driveway, when “a verbal altercation occurred between the driver and the victim's mother,” he said.

At some point during the altercation, the driver tried to leave and hit the boy and his mother, according to police. 

Family members took them to a hospital, where the boy later died from his injuries.

Authorities have not released the names of the boy, his mother or the driver of the Sonata. The mother’s condition was not immediately available.

No arrests had been made as of Monday morning.

“This is an ongoing investigation,” Robertson said. 

The boy is the second Florida evacuee killed in metro Atlanta.

A baby died and two women were critically injured after a teen driver hit them Saturday night in Woodstock, Cherokee County sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Marianne Kelley said.

Riley Hunt, 3 months, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, was in her mother’s arms when the driver of a Jeep Patriot struck them as they crossed Arnold Mill Road near the Northside Hospital Cherokee Amphitheater, according to the sheriff’s office. 

“They were evacuees from Florida here staying with family and friends,” Kelley told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday.

Riley and her mother, 28-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt, were taken to a local hospital. Riley died later Saturday. Kaitlyn Hunt was in critical condition, with “many broken bones and internal injuries,” Kelley said.

Another woman, 61-year-old Kathy Deming, of Marietta, was also hit and taken to the hospital in critical condition, according to the sheriff’s office.

Irma was downgraded Monday from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm, but still had winds near hurricane force, according to The Associated Press.

Tropical Storm Irma's rain bands, strong wind reach metro Atlanta

Irma has weakened to a tropical storm as it approaches Georgia.

>> Read more trending news

Irma's rain bands and high winds are beginning to move into metro Atlanta as it continues to weaken as a Category 1 storm.

As of 6:15 a.m., Georgia Power reported more than 97,000 customers without power and EMC reports more than 49,000 customers without power. 

The massive storm hammered much of Florida on Sunday. At least five deaths are now associated with Irma in Florida, according to officials.

The storm's maximum sustained winds were downgraded to 85 mph and WSB-TV meteorologist Karen Minton said more weakening is expected.

After Tampa, Irma will then take a northwesterly turn as it moves into Georgia near the Albany area, becoming a tropical storm by Monday evening. 

“We’re on the wrong side of the storm,” Burns said. “The Atlanta metro is going to see a lot of rainfall, intense rainfall at times, 3-6 inches, with the possibility of isolated tornadoes. And we’re going to see winds that are averaging about 40 mph, with peak wind gusts of about 60 mph.”

Burns said the wind and rain will taper off by Tuesday morning.

Heavy wind

All of north Georgia is currently under a tropical storm warning.

“That means tropical storm-force winds are likely over the next 24 hours,” Burns said.

Burns is also warning of possible tornadoes spinning off from the storm.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the following counties: Baldwin, Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Bibb, Bleckley, Butts, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattahoochee, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Crawford, Crisp, Dade, Dawason, DeKalb, Dodge, Dooly, Douglas, Emanuel, Fannin, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Gilmer, Glascock, Gordon, Greene, Gwinnett, Hall, Hancock, Haralson, Harris, Heard, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Lamar, Laurens, Lumpkin, Macon, Madison, Marion, Meriwether, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Murray, Muscogee, Newton, North Fulton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Paulding, Peach, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Pulaski, Putnam, Rockdale, Schley, South Fulton, Spalding, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taliaferro, Taylor, Telfair, Toombs, Towns, Treutlen, Troup, Twiggs, Union, Upson, Walker, Walton, Warren, Washington, Webster, Wheeler, White, Whitfield, Wilcox, Wilkes and Wilkinson  

“Even though the storm prediction center is not indicating any tornado prospects for us, I’m saying there's a chance for isolated tornadoes that can spin up without warning,” Burns said.

Burns said with the high winds expected, much of downtown Atlanta could become like a wind tunnel Monday. Strong gusts of wind that came through Sunday evening already started causing problems in downtown with fallen debris from a build along Peachtree Street

“The air will get squeezed between the buildings and you’re going to see some terrific wind gusts. Sixty, maybe 65 mph wind gusts in downtown Atlanta,” Burns said.

Burns expects winds gusts to be around 45 mph across the metro Monday morning, with winds being much higher south of the metro.

Those wind speeds will increase as the storm gets closer Monday afternoon. 

Rain

A flash-flood watch has been issued ahead of Irma’s impacts across all of north Georgia.

The watch goes into effect at 8 a.m. Monday until 8 a.m. Tuesday.

WSB-TV’s Katie Walls said all of north Georgia could see 3-7 inches of rain, which could cause creeks and streams to rise, as well as ponding on local roadways.

Walls said the metro could start seeing the rain coming from Irma early Monday morning.

“We’ll start to see some of those very light rain showers work their way into the south metro, then become more widespread as we head throughout the morning period,” Walls said.

Walls said the heaviest rain will start to arrive in the afternoon Monday.

“As we head into the afternoon and evening commutes home, we’ll be dealing with those gusts of 60 mph. We’re also going to be dealing with some very intense downpours as well,” Walls said. 

Those periods of intense wind and rain will continue throughout the evening and will start to taper off by early Tuesday morning.

“We’re still expecting widespread rain on tap across all of metro Atlanta,” Walls said. 

Air Force sends doctors, nurses to Orlando for Irma recovery

More than 300 doctors, nurses and other medical professionals were sent to Orlando with the help of the U.S. Air Force ahead of Hurricane Irma.

>> Read more trending news

Three C-17s from South Carolina’s Joint Base Charleston and Delaware’s Dover Air Force Base flew the group to Florida on Saturday.

"When the world presents a challenge, our airmen adjust to meet need and do what it takes to accomplish the mission,” said Gen. Carlton Everhart II, commander of the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command. “Our airmen are mission ready and prepared to help others impacted by Hurricane Irma while meeting worldwide needs." 

Florida Gov. Rick Scott made a plea Saturday for volunteer nurses to help at shelters across the state. 

The Department of Health and Human Services has coordinated the medical efforts to Florida to assist with the needs following Hurricane Irma. 

The hurricane made landfall in Marco Island just after 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

Florida woman shelters horses inside her home during Hurricane Irma

Across Florida, people hunkered down over the weekend to ride out Hurricane Irma with their families, friends and pets. 

Georgia Mott, of Okeechobee County, is no different, except that she’s sharing her house with six dogs and two horses named Goose and Dixie. 

>> Read more trending news

“We decided to stay because of how chaotic it was getting out of Florida,” Mott said. 

As the storm approached and her friends with horses started moving their animals into concrete barns, Mott got to thinking. 

“We got the idea to bring them inside the house, seeing as how it sits on a hill and is also made of concrete,” Mott explained. “We figured it was the safest choice.” 

So, they cleared out the laundry room and brought in hay and shavings to make the animals comfortable. Goose and Dixie also were given medications to keep them relaxed.

“The horses have been amazing since we brought them in yesterday evening,” Mott said. “They are probably more relaxed than I am.”

Mott posted a picture and video of Dixie and Goose on Facebook and it went viral. Thousands of people shared it and commented on it.

“I am blown away by the amount of attention it has gotten and the outpouring of love and support from people around the world,” Mott said.

Possible sinkhole opens at apartment complex during Hurricane Irma

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County Fire Rescue was called Monday morning to an apartment complex after people reported that a possible sinkhole had opened underneath part of the building.

>> Read more trending news

Initial reports estimated the size of the opening was 30 by 60 feet, but that is unconfirmed.

A search for the address showed the location is the Landmark at West Place Apartments.

>> See the latest on WFTV.com

WFTV received several pictures from a resident that showed multiple air conditioning units had fallen into the opening.

Orange County Fire Rescue officials confirmed that they received several calls about the hole.

Hurricane Irma: For undocumented immigrants, this isn’t the worst storm of their lives

There are storms of the earth and storms of the heart. Walter Villa Toro knows this too well. 

This is why the 30-year-old undocumented immigrant from Guatemala packed up his young family, boarded up their rental apartment in Lake Worth and sought shelter at Forest Hill High as Hurricane Irma loomed. 

>> Hurricane Irma: Live updates

Villa Toro says he doesn't want to lose a family again. He left his hometown, Santa Cruz Barillas, and moved to Florida 12 years ago, with dreams of becoming a musician.

“I haven’t seen my parents or four siblings ever since I moved from Guatemala,” says Villa Toro, who mows lawns for a living. “My mom tells me to come back, to have the family together again, but I have goals in America.” 

>> PHOTOS: Hurricane Irma makes landfall in Florida, leaves damage behind

Hurricane Irma may be the unifying force for Villa Toro and the many who sought refuge at the storm shelter. But like other immigrants at this facility, with the cramped corridors and stinky bathrooms, it is American goals that thread their stories together. 

For Maria Resendiz, a 45-year-old mother from Hidalgo, Mexico, the goals are not about possessions, but security. 

>> More Hurricane Irma coverage from the Palm Beach Post

“I’m not afraid to lose material things," says Resendiz, who arrived at the shelter with her husband and three children Friday morning. “I pray everyday for the safety of my family.” 

There's another prayer as well. It is evident at lunchtime, when Resendiz intently reads from a book titled “Ciudadania Americana" (American Citizenship) between bites of applesauce and meat patty. 

>> Hurricane Irma: Florida woman delivers own baby at home as storm rages

Resendiz, who has worked for 10 years at a local cosmetics factory, is studying for her U.S. citizenship exam, which could be scheduled at any time now. She says she already knows most of the answers, though she's concerned about her accent and English pronunciations. 

She must focus on such details because a critical matter depends on her passing the test. Her mother is dying of complications from diabetes in Mexico. Resendiz can't travel there without citizenship. If she does, she may not be able to return. 

Other stories you may like from the Palm Beach Post:

>> Hurricane Irma: Live from the Palm Beach Central shelter 

>> Scenes of sadness, sharing in a Boca Raton shelter

>> Fleeing Hurricane Irma: A special needs family, and a survivor of Katrina and Harvey

For fellow immigrant Noe Aguilar, the concerns are less about homeland and more about here and now. The 32-year-old Guatemalan man came to the shelter with his wife and four kids, whom he supports by doing lawn work. 

On his mind as he chats with a Lake Worth neighbor outside the shelter: What to do with all this unexpected down time. 

>> Hurricane Irma: Georgia sheriff's office's snarky, viral post warns residents to avoid 'stupid factor'

"I wish I brought my soccer ball to kill time. I’m not used not doing anything an entire day.”

Meantime, Villa Toro uses the downtime to allow himself a glance back in time. He remembers a Guatemalan childhood so poor he would have to make his own swimming goggles with a piece of glass to fish underwater. He couldn’t afford fishing gear, much less fresh fish from the market.

>> Hurricane Irma: Florida deputy, corrections sergeant die in head-on crash during storm

“I still remember the taste of fresh fish from the river,” he says. 

That fish would be delicious now with tortillas and rice, he joked as he munched on a storm-shelter granola bar. 

Truth be told, he says, he's worked hard here to scrape together the little that he has. If he loses everything due to Irma, it would take him a long time to get back on his feet and support his family here.

>> Read more trending news

Still, he hangs on tightly to his dreams.

Villa Toro says he is saving to buy a piano. He hopes to return to Guatemala one day and play music for his mother.

Hurricane Irma: Georgia sheriff's office's snarky, viral post warns residents to avoid 'stupid factor'

A Georgia sheriff’s office has given an unusual warning about the remnants of Hurricane Irma, which will impact the state Monday. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency for every county ahead of the storm.

>> Hurricane Irma: Live updates

And the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office’s warning is going viral for its blunt, sarcastic nature.

>> More Hurricane Irma coverage from WFTV

“Please be prepared to be without electricity for a few days due to high winds and trees taking out utility lines. You might even lose your internet connection, which probably scares you more than being without TV or air conditioning,” it begins.

>> PHOTOS: Hurricane Irma makes landfall in Florida, leaves damage behind

After some necessary warnings about wind and supplies, the post veers into “the stupid factor” with the force of a hurricane wind.

>> Read more trending news

“Try to avoid the stupid factor. Stupid makes more work for us, EMTs and ER personnel. In fact, stupid is the reason most of us have jobs,” the statement says. “If you have stupid friends, avoid them until the power comes back on. If YOU are the stupid one, then please sit this one out and wait til an ice storm [comes] along before you demonstrate your capabilities.”

>> Read the post here

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