Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Millions of Florida Homes and Businesses Still Don't Have Power

Millions of Florida Homes and Businesses Still Don't Have Power

In storm-battered towns up and down Florida's western shores - from Naples and Fort Myers north through Sarasota, Tampa and St. Petersburg - residents huddled with relatives, neighbours and pets to ride out a hurricane that had ranked as one of the Atlantic's most powerful in a century. By Sunday morning, streets were flooded and damage was already evident.

The storm engulfed almost all of Florida, from the state's southernmost point up to the Georgia line, from the Atlantic coast to the Gulf side. "It is too early to put percentages or dollar figures to damage until we get into the neighborhoods", the county commissioner, Heather Carruthers, said in a statement.

The National Hurricane Center is washing its hands of Irma.

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.

The storm "generated the most Accumulated Cyclone Energy in a 24-hour period on record, breaking old record set by Allen" in 1980, Klotzbach says, referring to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's wind energy index. Irma sent 4 feet of ocean water into downtown Charleston, South Carolina, as the storm's centre passed 400 km away.

So far, Hurricane Irma has left 26 dead since it first made landfall on September 6 in the Caribbean islands.

Officials are reporting a second death in Georgia related to Tropical Storm Irma.

But Irma again intensified over the warm waters approaching the Florida mainland, making it a Category 4, then shortly thereafter a 3 (still considered a major hurricane). Now contrast that with what we saw rolling in through the day on Monday.

Georgia Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Catherine Howden said Monday that one storm-related death has been confirmed in Worth County, about 170 miles south of Atlanta. The sheriff's office said it hopes "people who had their lives saved yesterday will take evacuation orders seriously in the future".

Across Florida as a whole, more than 15million are still without electricity, accounting for more than half of the state.

The big question people now have is, "What will Irma do next?"

Warnings of hazardous storm surges remained in effect through vast swaths of peninsular Florida, where more than six million people had been ordered to flee Irma's path - one of the biggest evacuations in USA history.

And in Alabama, some city school districts including Birmingham, Huntsville and Auburn planned to close Monday and in some cases Tuesday.

The figure represents nearly 60% of the state's electricity users, who were still experiencing power outage as of 9 p.m. EDT Monday, according to the state's Division of Emergency Management.

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