They say that a picture speaks a thousand words, and nothing hammers that home like looking at photos of hurricane damage after a storm like Hurricane Irma. You hear things like "130 mile per hour winds," but that doesn't mean much in the abstract. When you look at before and after photos of Hurricane Irma, though, you'll know exactly what that means — and it's not pretty.
Hurricane Irma caused widespread devastation across a wide swath of the Caribbean and now Florida as well, upending people's homes and lives. Hundreds of people are already homeless after Irma, and thousands more don't know what they'll find when they come back to the homes they left.
Irma's death toll in the Caribbean and the U.S. is still rising, and flooding could spread up from Florida into Georgia and Tennessee before the storm entirely dissipates. It takes days to really assess how much damage the storm has caused, and these photos will make it quite clear why it usually takes years to fully clean up from such a destructive hurricane.
So far, most of the before-and-after shots have come from various Caribbean islands, which have already have had a few days to start figuring out what they'll be dealing with — but don't take that to mean that Florida got off easy. Irma has left a trail of destruction in its wake, and for the areas affected, this is the beginning of a long and hard journey.