Florida Keys devastated by Irma, says governor

Posted September 14, 2017

The storm left more than 5.7 million customers without power, and littered the state with downed trees, downed power lines and standing water.

Hurricane Irma has led to at least five deaths in Florida after it crashed through the Florida Keys on Sunday, leaving seven million people without power. The most extensive damage was likely in the Naples area, but a full assessment was ongoing.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says the Navy has deployed the USS Iwo Jima, USS New York and the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln to help with search and rescue amid reports of devastation in the hurricane-battered Keys. Affected states include Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Speaking about the havoc wrecked across the Atlantic, Munday added: "My heart goes out to the people on these islands because they didn't have the resources, the shelter, the ability to prepare as we would have on the mainland, which makes them more vulnerable". The St. Johns River rose to record levels, flooding major roadways.

The National Hurricane Center said Irma's eye was about 50 miles southeast of Tampa near 11 p.m. "It's disgusting, what we saw", he said following an aerial tour of the region on Monday.

The state's electric cooperatives likewise reported their biggest outages in the Upstate, though Berkeley Electric Cooperative said thousands were without power in western Charleston County.

The storm killed at least 26 people as it swept across the Caribbean towards America, and caused widespread destruction on islands including Antigua and Barbuda. While it arrived in Florida a Category 4 hurricane, it was down to a Category 1 with winds of 85 miles per hour (135 kph). "We didn't expect that at all", he said.

If you aren't caught up, here's what happened on Sunday: When Irma was still a healthy Category 3 and 4-force hurricane in South Florida, its outer winds blew from the northeast into Tampa Bay, pushing the water out to the Gulf of Mexico.

Footage from the Grassy Key island shot by United States broadcaster NBC showed downed power lines, felled trees, and streets strewn with debris and vehicles.

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionWATCH Amateur footage shows a bay in Key Largo drained by Hurricane Irma
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionWATCH Amateur footage shows a bay in Key Largo drained by Hurricane Irma

A total of 6.3 million people in Florida were ordered to evacuate - about a third of the state's population. Petersburg area early today.

116,000: Number of individuals in Floridain shelters as of yesterday (Sept. 10), according to a news release by the Florida governor's office. Authorities are still surveying damage from the record-breaking storm, and this story will be updated as more details emerge.

Curfews were imposed in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and much of the rest of South Florida, and some arrests of violators were reported.

Irma was expected to reach the heavily populated Tampa-St.

It's time to tack on another day since Tampa Bay's last direct hit from a major hurricane, another day to breathe a sigh of relief.

The historic storm is so wide that authorities faced destructive storm surges on both coasts of Florida and the Keys as it follows a path north toward Georgia.

On Tuesday morning, the rainy remnants of Irma pushed through Alabama and MS after drenching Georgia.

Irma is starting to lose some strength but forecasters warn it will remain very powerful.