Irma leaves two thirds of Florida without power

Irma leaves two thirds of Florida without power

Some 6.7 million homes and businesses in Florida and nearby states still had no power on Tuesday after the pummeling from Hurricane Irma, as utility companies scrambled to get the lights back on in one of the biggest power restoration efforts in us history.

On Sunday, Irma claimed its first U.S. fatality - a man found dead in a pick-up truck that had crashed into a tree in high winds in Marathon in the Florida Keys, local officials said.

Irma was downgraded to a tropical depression on Monday and would likely dissipate Tuesday evening, the National Hurricane Centre said.

Irma dropped to tropical storm status Monday but is still very much a danger as it rumbles north over the Florida-Georgia line and into the Deep South after lashing most of the Sunshine State.

As the sun rose in Orlando, many tried to survey the damage, but authorities warned that conditions remain unsafe and asked people not to venture outside because of a curfew.

"This is going to be a frustrating event".

Here in Acadiana we will start to see some affects of Irma on Wednesday when clouds will swing over the region on the back side of the storm as it moves through Tennessee.

A storm surge of 10 feet was recorded in the Keys and a record storm surge was reported in Jacksonville that exceeded the previous high set by Hurricane Dora in 1964.

Seven deaths in Florida have been blamed on Irma, along with two in Georgia and two in SC.

The Guardian reported that an estimated 160,000 people are living in shelters in Florida right now, many of which are ill-equipped and lacking enough resources to accommodate the enormous influx of visitors.

The Keys felt Irma's full fury when the storm blew ashore as a Category 4 hurricane Sunday morning with 130 miles per hour (209 kph) winds. Hurricane Harvey plowed into Houston late last month, killing about 60 and wreaking some $180bn in damage, largely through flooding. However, the system will still continue to maintain Hurricane Jose in the waters of the Atlantic.

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He added, "there is no safe area within the Keys, and you put your life in your own hands by not evacuating".

"A lot of people lost everything", he said Tuesday morning. She did not have a count on how many. So I got lucky there.

CNN drone footage from Barbuda on Friday showed almost every house and building ripped open or torn apart.

President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration and emergency federal aid for Florida, describing the hurricane as a "big monster".

"An army of more than 50,000 workers from across the United States and Canada is now dedicated to supporting the industry's Irma restoration efforts", Kuhn said.

"We've never had that many outages, and I don't think any utility in the country ever has", FPL Chief Executive Eric Silagy said at a news conference on Monday. But as the storm neared, some Floridians hunkered down rather than hitting the road.

No timetable was given for reopening the remainder of the Keys, which are linked by a series of causeways and bridges down to Key West, a popular tourist spot on the southern tip of Florida.

In Florida and southern Georgia, more than 8 million people face hurricane-force winds topping 74 miles per hour, said Ryan Maue of WeatherBell Analytics.

"This is likely to be one of the largest and most complex power restoration efforts in USA history", said Tom Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, an industry trade group.

An apparent tornado spun off by Irma destroyed six mobile homes in Palm Bay, midway up the Atlantic coast.

"I know for our entire state, especially the Keys, it's going to be a long road", Gov. Rick Scott said.