Published: Thu, September 14, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

This is the destruction Irma left behind in Florida

This is the destruction Irma left behind in Florida

The Florida Keys were particularly hard hit, with federal officials saying that 25 percent of homes were destroyed and 65 percent suffered major damage when Irma barreled ashore on Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of up to 130 miles per hour (215 km per hour).

Monroe County opened road access on Tuesday morning for residents and business owners from Key Largo, the main island at the upper end of the chain, as well as the towns of Tavernier and Islamorada farther to the south, fire officials said.

Meanwhile, Florida Power & Light spokesman Rob Gould asked customers Tuesday to be patient as they wait for restoration of electricity.

The hurricane made US landfall twice on Sunday, in the Florida Keys and at Marco Island.

Those with power restored include more than 300,000 customers in metro Atlanta.

All travelers who had plans to visit the region in the coming weeks should contact their airlines and hotels.

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey are in a league of their own. Though several areas have to be repaired due to the storm, they should be completed by Thursday.

Massive cleanup: Mayor Bill Barnett says trees are down and streets are flooded, even though the storm surge wasn't as bad as officials feared.

At its peak the storm prompted evacuation orders for 6.5mn people in Florida, the largest evacuation in modern United States history. He stresses this was a storm not commonly seen in the state.

Weakened into a tropical depression after strafing the Caribbean and Florida, Irma still had enough force when it swirled into Georgia to cause significant damage.

Numerous trees fell in DeKalb County, where officials said it was the hardest hit county in metro Atlanta. More than 6 million homes and businesses in Florida lost power, including most of Miami.

Hands folded and brown eyes hollow, Mario Valentine sat on his faux-leather couch, staring at the cracked white panels and shredded pink insulation that, before the storm, had been the front wall of his mobile home.

But there are signs of life returning to normal, with airports resuming flights, curfews in many areas being lifted and major theme parks in Florida reopening. But I got lucky and so did some other people. More than 894,000 Georgia Power and Electric Membership Corp. customers were in the dark Tuesday afternoon.

Flint Energies is reporting 15,236 members still affected by outages at noon Tuesday.

"Don't think just because this has passed you can run home", Mr Scott said.

"It's awful, what we saw, " Scott said.

"The Keys are going to take awhile", he said.

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