After the winds die, a massive recovery effort in Florida

  • After the winds die, a massive recovery effort in Florida

After the winds die, a massive recovery effort in Florida

Especially hard hit in the United States was the resort archipelago of the Keys, extending into the Gulf of Mexico from the tip of Florida's peninsula and connected to the mainland by a single, narrow highway, Governor Rick Scott told a news conference on Monday. As a radar app on his phone showed Irma passing by, he had seen little more than gusty winds.

The National Weather Service reported that storm surge flooding in Jacksonville set a record Monday morning as water covered downtown streets.

Significant damage to major ports could further complicate matters.

Melissa Stehr's husband took this photo of her in Charlotte.

Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU), which covers the city in Alachua County, said roughly 41,000 customers were impacted by Hurricane Irma.

No deaths in Florida were immediately linked to the storm.

U.S. media reports suggest Hurricane Irma has claimed at least four lives in Florida, after killing at least 37 in the Caribbean islands last week.

Florida outages for Duke, the state's second biggest power company serving the northern and central parts of the state, remained at about 1.2 million overnight, according to the company's website, while Duke's outages in North and SC climbed to about 160,000.

Irma was ranked a Category 5, the rare top end of the scale of hurricane intensity, for days and its ferocity as it bore down on hurricane-prone Florida prompted one of the largest evacuations in US history.

The North West Company is determining just how badly Hurricane Irma damaged its businesses in the Caribbean as the storm made a destructive trek through the region last week. About 5,000 of the Keys' 30,000 permanent residents stayed to ride out the storm, Florida Keys spokesman Andy Newman said.

Opting to stay put with her four dogs rather than join evacuations, Connelly said the experience was "very scary". "Shingles are coming off".

The storm winds downed a construction crane and shook tall buildings in Miami, which was about 153km from Irma's core. Mother and infant were later taken to a hospital, it said.

According to the National Hurricane Center's 5 a.m. advisory, Irma was downgraded to a Category 1 storm, still a monster despite the weakening.

To the south, winds knocked a utility pole and power lines onto a sheriff's cruiser late Sunday in Polk County, illustrating the unsafe conditions for emergency personnel.

Scott said Saturday that Florida has been "aggressive" in its preparation for Irma, adding that there were more than 385 shelters open across the path of the storm.

The Ohio River Valley could experience heavy rain, flooding, strong winds and other damage associated with the storm Wednesday and Thursday.

Irma made landfall just after 9 a.m. Sunday at Cudjoe Key, about 20 miles outside Key West.

Normally bustling streets were ghost towns. Sunday church services were called off, and theme parks were closed.

Around the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, where Irma rolled through early Monday, damage appeared modest. It's the first time I've evacuated from a hurricane. "It's bad now, it's going to continue to get worse", meteorologist Angie Enyedi said.

"The window to make repairs or get deliveries may be quite small" due to Hurricane Jose, said Hillary Stevenson, director of oil markets at research firm Genscape. But forecasters warn that long-term forecasts are often off by hundreds of miles.

Hurricane Irma gave Florida a coast-to-coast pummeling with winds up to 130 miles per hour Sunday, swamping homes and boats, knocking out power to millions and toppling massive construction cranes over the Miami skyline.

"Once this system passes through, it's going to be a race to save lives and sustain lives", Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long said on "Fox News Sunday".

As anxious Florida residents watched weather forecasts this week, it seemed clear Hurricane Irma was on track to strike Miami, Fort Lauderdale and other Atlantic coast cities, prompting a massive evacuation.