How Hurricane Irma stormed Florida- Story in pictures

Downgraded to a Tropical Storm, Irma Hits Florida With Wind, Flooding

Irma had weakened Monday night (Sept. 11) into a tropical depression, but heavy rains continued across the southeast, the National Hurricane Center reported in its latest update. How many people in the dangerously exposed, low-lying islands defied evacuation orders and stayed behind was unclear.

One death in Florida, of a man killed in an auto accident during the storm, has been blamed on Irma and another death in south Georgia.

"Right now people can't get into the Keys and that is because it was badly hit by Hurricane Irma particularly a 15 mile stretch between Marathon and Key West".

"This is going to be a frustrating event".

Millions of people were still without power in Florida.

The flooding in Jacksonville, while predicted, is some of the worst the city has seen.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday said transportation authorities were inspecting those bridges to make sure they can bear significant weight.

Irma first made landfall in our area on Marco Island. It destroyed about one-third of the buildings on the Dutch-ruled portion of St Martin Island, the Dutch Red Cross said on Tuesday.

He said they expected to cover about 90 percent of the hardest hit areas in the Keys by Wednesday.

The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln arrived on Florida's east coast on Monday, and its helicopters were put to use assessing the damage to the Keys.

"The main impact we are looking at are the higher winds especially in the higher elevations like Fort Payne", Chase said.

Parts of the Upper Keys were reopened Tuesday morning.

Power outages from Hurricane Irma in Florida and nearby states declined to about 6.9 million customers on Tuesday from a peak over 7.4 million late Monday as utilities organized one of the biggest restoration efforts in USA history.

Insured property losses in Florida from Irma were expected to run from $US20 billion to $US40 billion, catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide estimated.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told an investor conference in NY that the storm would ultimately boost the economy by sparking rebuilding. It absolutely could be weeks if we have to rebuild parts of the system.

Big airports in Florida remain closed, and flight cancellations are spreading along the track of Tropical Storm Irma outside Florida.

Handfuls of holdout residents, having defied calls to evacuate, hunkered down as Irma tore over the Keys, ripping boats from their moorings, flattening palm trees and downing power lines across the island chain popular for fishing and scuba diving. A passenger, meanwhile, died in Forsyth County after a falling tree impacted her vehicle, according to officials.

That left 40,000 people in public shelters as Hurricane Jose approached. The upside is hurricane season slows down from here until the end of November, so everyone along the coasts should be able to breathe easy again in a few short months.



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