Officials raise death toll to 12 in Florida

Frederick Owens
September 14, 2017

Irma took its parting shot at Florida on Monday, triggering severe flooding in the state's northeastern corner, while authorities along the storm's 400-mile path struggled to rush aid to victims and take the full measure of the damage.

Officials warned that Irma's heavy storm surge - seawater driven on land by high winds - could bring floods of up to 4.6m along the state's western Gulf Coast.

Here's a look at some of the destruction Irma left in her wake.

Irma is expected to cause billions of dollars in damage to the third-most- populous USA state, a major tourism hub with an economy comprising about 5 per cent of U.S. gross domestic product.

Florida's two nuclear power plants, Turkey Point near Homestead and St. Lucie nuclear power plant are being shutdown before the worst of the storm hits.

"Basically every house in the Keys was impacted", he said.

"There's devastation. I just hope everybody survived", Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Monday after flying over the area. "We saw one guy out there on a bike, a bicycle". This means most people who chose to stay hunkered down at home or in a shelter can expect hurricane-force winds in excess of 74 miles per hour. In other parts of the island chain, the closure of USA 1, a major artery that connects the islands with the mainland, was a prime concern.

"Florida will get through this", he said. Streets flooded, and flying objects such as coconuts turned into risky projectiles.

On Tuesday the curfew for Miami-Dade County was lifted as crews worked to clear roads.

In the dark: Most of the city (72%) is without power, the mayor said.

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Gasoline shortages continue to plague parts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas as residents begin to return home following Hurricane Irma.

But that also puts that region in the strongest northeast quadrant of the storm, where storm surge, wind, rain and tornado threats are highest.

He said: "Some 6.5 million Floridians, that is 62 per cent of the state, without power at this hour still and we are at the entrance here into really the only entrance way into the Florida Keys". The co-op services a total of 217,804 customers in both counties, and 2,102 were without power.

According to CBS11 Chief Meteorologist Scott Padgett, this is the result of Hurricane Irma's counter-clockwise rotation and size.

Florida has long dealt with hurricanes, including a stretch of eight hurricanes in two years while Jeb Bush was governor, but Irma's wide reach has proved daunting.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said the situation was not as bad as it could have been but warned residents that risky storm surge continued. "All the beauty kind of got sucked out of the city". And it could be a week until it's restored, Barnett said.

By the time it hit the peninsula, the storm had been downgraded and weakened further to a tropical depression late Monday.

"We came here, leaving everything at home, and we go back to nothing", Lopez said.

"We are restoring power where we can get out between feeder bands", Rob Gould, FPL vice president and chief communications officer said Sunday.

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