Irma takes parting shot as it finally leaves Florida

Irma takes parting shot as it finally leaves Florida

At least nine deaths in the USA are now attributed to Irma, some hit by falling trees or tree limbs and one killed in a storm-related auto accident.

Hurricane Irma hit the Florida coast Sunday as a Category 4 storm. With communication cut to some of the Florida Keys, where Irma made landfall Sunday, and rough conditions persisting across the peninsula, many are holding their breath for what daylight might reveal. All around the region, more than 7 million homes and businesses lost power at one point from Irma's passage, the brunt of the outages occurring in Florida.

Power lines were down across the state, with 65 percent of homes without electricity, and many roads were impassable due to debris. Much stronger and more devastating hurricanes have hit in decades past including Andrew and the 1935 Labor Day hurricane.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said damage to the fourth-largest US state was not as bad as previously predicted, but some areas had suffered extensive destruction, including the Florida Keys.

But Freeman, a partner with Radiology Associates in South Florida, said he knows that Floridians will band together to get the state back up and running.

In the Jacksonville area, close to the Georgia line, storm surge brought some of the worst flooding ever seen there, with at least 46 people pulled from swamped homes.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said the situation was not as bad as it could have been, but warned residents that unsafe storm surge continued.

As is so often the case with these storms, Irma could have been worse: A last-second 50-mile jog inland likely prevented higher storm surge across cities on Florida's western coast, including Tampa. About 5,000 of the Keys' 30,000 permanent residents stayed to ride out the storm, Florida Keys spokesman Andy Newman said.

"We're asking folks to be patient and remain sheltered in place", said St. Augustine Fire Chief Carlos Aviles.

Spokesman Stephen Holmes says the home improvement store is now restocking empty shelves in disaster areas.

Damage across the state has been widespread but mostly restricted to cosmetics with trees, powerlines and shingles.

The Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers posted on its website that "if you are traveling September 11 through September 13, most airlines have cancelled flights at RSW due to Hurricane Irma". "We've already surpassed historic levels, the levels will continue to rise".

Flash flood emergency: The National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency for parts of downtown. We've got to make sure it's safe.



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