Irma leaves 9 dead in US, “devastation” in Florida Keys

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

(Via ABC News)

Hurricane Irma was still wreaking havoc in South Carolina late Monday after causing at least nine deaths in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

A flash flood emergency was issued for Charleston Monday afternoon as Irma, which was downgraded to a tropical storm Monday morning, battered the Southeast with torrential rain and dangerous storm surges.

Irma brought heavy rain and wind to Atlanta on Monday night. A wind gust of 64 mph was reported in Atlanta on Monday afternoon and heavy rainfall was recorded across the Southeast. Brunswick, Georgia recorded over 6 inches of rain Monday and Beaufort, South Carolina registered nearly 5.9 inches.

Tropical storm warnings remain in effect for parts of northern Florida, eastern Alabama, Georgia and southern South Carolina. The storm is expected to continue to weaken as its center moves northwest Tuesday.

On Monday, President Donald Trump approved a state of emergency declaration in Alabama after speaking to Gov. Kay Ivey on the phone the day before, the White House announced.

One person was killed in Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys. The man was killed after he lost control of a truck that carried a generator as winds whipped at tropical-storm strength, officials said.

Two others, a sheriff’s deputy and a corrections officer, died from a two-car crash in the rain in Hardee County, which is about 60 miles inland from Sarasota, officials said.

In Winter Park, near Orlando, a man was electrocuted by a downed power line Monday morning, according to the Winter Park Police Department. He was pronounced dead at the scene after investigators found him lying in the street, police said.

Another person died from carbon monoxide poisoning from improper use of a generator in Miami-Dade County, the mayor said.

Another fatality was from a car crash in Orange County in central Florida.

At least two people have died in Georgia as a result of the storm. In Sandy Springs, in northern Fulton County, a man died while lying in bed after a large tree broke and fell on his home, Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul announced on Facebook.

In Abbeville County, South Carolina, a 57-year-old man was killed after a tree limb fell on him. He died at the scene.

At least 37 people died from Irma in the Caribbean, including at least 10 in Cuba.

At least 7.7 million customers are without power in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, including more than 6.7 million accounts in Florida alone, about 64 percent of Florida’s customers.

In Miami-Dade, over 80 percent of customers lost power, the mayor said today, and a curfew is in effect until further notice.

Eric Silagy, president and CEO of Florida Power & Light, warned that “people need to be prepared for some prolonged and extended outages.”

In Georgia, 748,000 customers are without power, while in South Carolina, more than 238,519 customers are without power.

In the Florida Keys, which remain cut off from the mainland, there’s high anxiety and little fuel, electricity or running water, officials said.

Irma first made landfall in the Florida Keys Sunday morning as a Category 4 hurricane, bringing 130 mph winds and a storm surge of 10 feet. It was the first Category 4 landfall in Florida since 2004. Florida Gov.Rick Scott said the storm left “devastation” in the Keys.

Monroe County continues to be closed for residents and visitors due to unsafe road conditions caused by the hurricane, but the Florida Department of Transportation has reported that all bridges on U.S. 1 from the 18-mile stretch entering the Keys to Mile Marker 16 have been inspected and are safe for travel.

Much of the Keys is without power and water, and all three of the Keys’ hospitals, including their emergency rooms, are closed, county officials said. A dawn-to-dusk curfew is still in place.

“We know this has been a difficult time for everyone and people are anxious to return to their homes,” Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi said. “We are working as quickly as we can to make our roads and bridges safe and to restore power, water and medical services.”

The Keys were under mandatory evacuation orders as Irma neared, but not everyone left.

According to the Miami Herald, Florida Director of Emergency Management Bryan Koon estimates that about 10,000 people remained in the Keys during the storm, adding it is hard to communicate with those left there.

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