Hurricane Irma ripped through the Caribbean islands of Turks and Caicos Friday,  slamming the island chain with 155 mph winds and rain. Initial photos out of the region showed the damage left behind in the storm's wake: roofs torn off houses laid on landscapes covered in stagnant floodwaters. 

The full extent of the damage to the islands of Turks and Caicos remained unclear as communication with the island was lost when the hurricane arrived. Forecasts, however, predicted storm surges of up to 20 feet were predicted before the hurricane hit.  The Category 4 storm left at least 11 people dead, according to initial reports.

Irma was downgraded from a Category 5 storm to a Category 4 storm Thursday, but still brought with it potentially deadly conditions. The hurricane's winds were clocked at 185 mph for more than 24 hours, the longest period ever recorded in hurricane history.

Hurricane Irma wrought severe damage in other portions of the Caribbean as well: an estimated 60 percent of people on Barbuda were left homeless when the storm hit Wednesday morning, while almost every single building on the island was destroyed, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said.

The storm was headed toward the Bahamas after slamming through Turks and Caicos. Forecasts predicted the hurricane would make landfall somewhere in Florida in the coming days: officials issued evacuation orders for multiple areas in the region, as well as for areas in Georgia. Half a million people in Miami-Dade County were ordered to leave, while mandatory evacuation orders were issued for the Florida Keys as well. 

"It is wider than our entire state and could cause major and life-threatening impacts from coast to coast," said Florida Gov. Rick Scott. "Regardless of which coast you live on, be prepared to evacuate."