Irma brings devastation to Florida; Georgia and Alabama get ready

Elias Hubbard
September 14, 2017

Florida residents who chose to stay rather than heed official warnings to evacuate their homes have told of their fears as Hurricane Irma pounds the Sunshine State. Federal officials estimated one-quarter of all homes in the Keys were destroyed.

Hurricane Irma has made landfall in Florida, and Gov. Rick Scott has requested a major disaster declaration from President Trump for every county in the state.

There is now a dawn-to-dusk curfew instilled in the Keys. "But they're going to be most acute on the coast".

Massive power outages crippled much of the southeast Tuesday.

The storm may be over, but the reconstruction process is just beginning.

The number of people without electricity in the late-summer heat dropped to around 10 million - half of Florida's population. She says the utility company had about 3,400 employees on standby to respond, but cautioned repairs could take several days. About 110,000 remained in shelters across Florida. St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue has also suspended emergency services due to risky weather conditions. At least one person died in the Keys. "This state is a state of strong resilient people".

"Fortunately for us, Irma was deflected to the west coast". Now, the storm is moving towards Florida and is likely to hit anytime soon where severe damage is expected.

At the Caloosa Cove Resort and Marina, concrete pilings meant to hold the dock in place had been knocked sideways and three manatees lolled in the water, drinking from an outflow pump that was spitting water from the side of the dock.

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.

Initial damage assessments revealed that nearly 65 percent of homes in the Florida Keys have sustained major damage, according to Brock Long, a Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator.

In the Keys, though, he said "there is devastation". An aircraft carrier was positioned off Key West to help in the search-and-rescue effort.

Among those braced for the onslaught was Sally Carlson from St Petersburg in Tampa Bay. Mobile home residents and Florida evacuees camping in RVs were urged to head to one of seven storm shelters in the area.

Florida's Department of Transportation is also working to fix two 300-foot stretches of road on the Keys that was washed out. "It has just begun, and it's going to get worse".

But water, power, sewer, medical services and cell service are still limited, Monroe County officials said Tuesday.

"Obviously Irma has been a pretty super-active storm, very long-lived, intense hurricane", he said.

Major utilities in Florida - including NextEra Energy Inc's Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Corp and Emera Inc's Tampa Electric - have mobilized tens of thousands of workers to deal with the enormous power outages after Hurricane Irma landed early Sunday.

Eddie Hinan waded through knee-deep water to reach his flooded apartment in the San Marco neighborhood of Jacksonville on Tuesday, staying just long enough to grab a plastic bag of clean clothes. And a woman was killed when a tree struck her vehicle in Cumming.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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