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‘I Said Goodbye to Everything.’ What It Was Like to Live Through Hurricane Irma: It’s just after dawn on Saturday and Miami Beach is empty. There are no tourists picking their way to the surf, no cheery hotel lights, no thumping music from car radios. The air is gauzy. Everything is a ghostly metallic gray.

It’s 14 hours before Hurricane Irma, the biggest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic, is supposed to pass through this spot. The National Weather Service warns it could be the most powerful hurricane in living memory. The Big One everyone’s been waiting for. It could be catastrophic in its devastation, the governor says. The mayor of Miami-Dade County opens a record number of shelters and goes on TV to plead with people to heed mandatory evacuation orders. The circles under his eyes are mauve.

Floridians are tense. People squabble at gas stations over dwindling fuel and throw punches over the cost of plywood. Interstate 75, which runs like a vein down Florida’s spine, is jammed with families trying to get north, to get out. I-95 and the Florida Turnpike aren’t much better. One man turns around at Fort Lauderdale and goes home. “I’d rather hunker down in my house than in my car,” he says.

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Related News: Power coming back, residents return in Irma-battered Florida. Read More…

‘I Said Goodbye to Everything.’ What It Was Like to Live Through Hurricane Irma: It’s just after dawn on Saturday and Miami Beach is empty. There are no tourists picking their way to the surf, no cheery hotel lights, no thumping music from car radios. The air is gauzy. Everything is a ghostly metallic gray.It’s 14 hours before Hurricane Irma, the biggest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic, is supposed to pass through this spot. The National Weather Service warns it could be the most powerful hurricane in living memory. The Big One everyone’s been waiting for. It could be catastrophic in its devastation, the governor says. The mayor of Miami-Dade County opens a record number of shelters and goes on TV to plead with people to heed mandatory evacuation orders. The circles under his eyes are mauve. Floridians are tense. People squabble at gas stations over dwindling fuel and throw punches over the cost of plywood. Interstate 75, which runs like a vein down Florida’s spine, is jammed with families trying to get north, to get out. I-95 and the Florida Turnpike aren’t much better. One man turns around at Fort Lauderdale and goes home. “I’d rather hunker down in my house than in my car,” he says.