Jennifer Brito bunkered down in West Palm Beach overnight at the storm moved through. Strong river flooding is possible over the next five days in much of central Georgia and southern SC. “I look at this as an opportunity to ideal our plan”, he said.
“We’re all hanging in there, ready to get out there to help others as soon as it’s safe to do so”, Marco Island Police Chief Al Schettino said as the storm hit his city on Sunday afternoon.
Crews also worked to fix two washed-out, 300-foot (90-meter) sections of USA 1, the highway that runs through the Keys, as well as check the safety of the 42 bridges linking the islands.
Millions are still without power across Florida, and several areas have been devastated by Irma, especially the Florida Keys.
One person was killed in Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys.
Irma killed 43 people in the Caribbean and at least 11 in Florida, Georgia and SC.
The hurricane struck northern Caribbean islands last week, leaving at least 44 people dead, before it smashed into the United States mainland over the weekend, with at least 33 storm-related deaths reported. That’s more than the population of NY and Los Angeles combined.
More than 6.5 million homes and businesses statewide lost power, and 220,000 people huddled in shelters. Can you tell us what is going on there? “What’s going to happen now?”
CARLOS CURBELO: To just see everything kind of at a standstill and for Key West to be a ghost town, that was very striking for me.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott said the storm left “devastation” on the Keys, which were under mandatory evacuation orders during Irma.
He said severe weather in the western part of the state could lead to localized flooding and landslides, especially since wildfires burned through the mountains previous year.
Irma’s top sustained winds are 35 miles per hour, and it is moving northwest at 15 miles per hour.
On Big Pine Key, innkeeper and yacht captain Tim Marquis was assessing the damage at Barnacle Bed & Breakfast and Dive Resort early Monday.
When the storm hit, Marquis said, water came over the 14-foot-high patio at the inn he has called home since 1995.
What they found was devastating: Based on initial estimates, 25% of the houses there have been destroyed, FEMA said. And we’ve seen people out there in the bay. “I have nothing”, said Mercedes Lopez, 50, whose family fled north from the Keys town of Marathon on Friday and rode out the storm at an Orlando hotel, only to learn their home was destroyed, along with the gasoline station where Lopez worked.
The US military was deploying air search and rescue missions as well as two amphibious warships in addition to the aircraft carrier the USS Abraham Lincoln which arrived there Sunday night.
Much of the recovery work in the Keys so far has simply been fixing washed-out roads and preparing landing strips for emergency-response flights.
“HELP IS ON THE WAY”, they promised on Facebook. The governor said the route also needs to be cleared of debris and sand, but should be usable fairly quickly.
Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers said on Monday that people had been killed in the Keys, which have almost 80,000 permanent residents, but she did not have a count on how many. “A t-shirt, anything white”, the office said on its Facebook page.
In Lower Matecumbe Key, just south of Islamorada, 57-year-old Donald Garner checked on his houseboat, which had only minor damage.
A tropical storm warning extends from central Georgia into northern Georgia and northwestern Alabama, including the cities of Atlanta, Georgia, and Huntsville, Alabama. The company said it had already restored service to almost 1.8 million customers.
Over the next two days, Irma is expected to push to the northwest, into Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.
The National Hurricane Center says Irma has weakened into a tropical depression, according to its 11 p.m. ET advisory.
Irma’s entire path, from its birth off Africa to its death over the Ohio Valley, stayed within the cone of the probable track forecast by the National Hurricane Centre.
Almost all tropical cyclones that hit the United States produce at least one tornado, “provided enough of the. cyclone’s circulation moves over land”, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
Ferguson reported from Jacksonville.