Irma weakens but still wreaks havoc in Florida

Frederick Owens
September 13, 2017

Georgia EMC started planning for Irma more than a week before the storm hit. Last week it killed at least 37 people as it crossed the Caribbean.

"It's frightful, what we saw", Scott said. "This is why we ask people to leave".

The islands of the Florida Keys and western parts of the state bore the brunt of the category-four hurricane.

At 10 p.m., the storm was 95 miles south-southwest of Atlanta with winds of 35 mph.

Irma is expected to drop 2 to 5 inches of rain across SC and northern portions of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. Florida Gov. Rick Scott flew over the hard-hit but isolated Keys on Monday and said he saw a lot of flood damage and boats that had washed ashore. The Florida cities of Jacksonville and Orlando were especially hard-hit by floodwaters. The latest storm, Hurricane Irma, is now making its way through Florida, bringing heavy rainfall and floods to the state.

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Monroe County opened road access on Tuesday morning for residents and business owners from Key Largo, the main island at the upper end of the chain, as well as the towns of Tavernier and Islamorada farther to the south, fire officials said.

The storm - which has been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm - now moves toward the northwest, likely to strike southern states on Monday, according to CNN.

The storm knocked at least a million power customers offline in Georgia and the Carolinas, according to local utilities, while flooding downtown Charleston, S.C.

He said teams were assessing the storm's impact on the bridges that link the keys, which may not be safe to cross. Facebook groups were forming Monday to help from afar. "We have enough gasoline to get out of the vehicle to run the generator probably for several days, but without power, we'll be in a little trouble".

Although frustrated Floridians are anxious to return home, officials are still enforcing an access ban in the Lower Keys as they evaluate the infrastructure, the roadways, health hazards and other safety measures. Two more, one of them a sheriff's deputy and the other a corrections officer, died when their cars crashed in the poor visibility brought about by constant rains in Hardee County, 60 miles from Sarasota. More than 1.5million customers were without power Monday night in Georgia. Petersburg area had braced for the first direct hit from a major hurricane since 1921. By Sunday morning, streets were flooded and damage was already evident.

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