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Aussies in Florida's north hit by Irma

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September 12, 2017

Aussie Linda Kitchen waited for Hurricane Irma to pass in her vet clinic with 16 cats and 15 dogs .

Australians in Florida were thumped for a second day by Hurricane Irma after it continued its destruction in the north of the state knocking down trees and power lines, ripping roofs off homes and causing record flooding.

Spencer Hooker, the co-owner of four Australian inspired The Kookaburra meat pie and coffee shops in the north-east coastal city of St Augustine, had hoped to dodge Irma after it was forecast to travel up Florida's west coast.

Irma, however, hit St Augustine and nearby major city Jacksonville hard and on Monday, with streets turning into rivers, police shutting bridges and a tiger rescued at a zoo after trees fell on its enclosure.

"We got smashed with the outer bands of the storm with 70 mph-plus (113km/h) gusts for an extended period," Mr Hooker, 36, told AAP on Monday.

"Pretty brutal.

"And now we're getting coastal storm surge downtown and several neighbourhoods, including mine, are flooding again due to a combination of high tide and storm surge."

Late Monday Mr Hooker had been still been unable to reach his home, but a neighbour sent him photos of his house and it appeared to be OK.

Despite two-thirds of his staff evacuating St Augustine ahead of Irma, Mr Hooker and the remaining staff plan to open at least one of the cafes on Tuesday.

Jacksonville, a city of almost 900,000 people, was one of Irma's biggest victims with heavy rain and storm surge turning it into a lake.

At the opposite end of Florida in the southwest city of Bonita Springs another Australian, chiropractor Bradley Frick, and his veterinarian wife Linda Kitchen faced a major clean-up of their property.

Trees had crashed around the front yard, but luckily did not fall on their home.

Dr Frick, formerly of Bundaberg, spent the day clearing the mess.

Bonita Springs was one of the hardest hit cities in Florida, with widespread flooding and wind damage.

The couple spent Sunday night at Dr Kitchen's nearby veterinary clinic where they rode out the 209 km/h winds with 16 cats and 15 dogs that were boarding with the vet after their owners evacuated.

Dr Frick and Dr Kitchen also took their four chickens, two cats and one dog to the clinic for the hurricane, giving the premises a Noah's Ark feel as the hurricane raged outside.

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