Hurricane Irma begins to batter Florida with powerful winds

Hurricane Irma begins to batter Florida with powerful winds

Hurricane Irma begins to batter Florida with powerful winds

Portions of the Florida Keys ravaged by Hurricane Irma will allow residents to return to survey damage from the monster storm, whose United States death toll rose to 11 on Tuesday.

More than 6.7 million resident were still without power across the Sunshine State as of late Monday, representing about 64 percent of Florida energy customers, according to energy providers.

Hurricane Irma knocked out power to as many as 16 million people across the entire Southeast, according to recent estimates from utility companies. Most of the outages are in Savannah, Ga., and the surrounding areas. Only her outermost bands continue to stretch across the Panhandle and Orlando, which are still experiencing wind and light rain. It has weakened into a post-tropical cyclone and was expected to further fizzle out throughout the day, bringing "generally moderate rain" to a wide area of the Southeast and Tennessee and OH valleys, according to the National Weather Service. Officials closed major bridges.

At least two people have died in SC: a 57-year-old man was killed after a tree limb fell on him and a 21-year-old died in a auto crash. Monday night, the storm had weakened to a tropical depression near Columbus, Georgia.

Officials are having a hard time getting to some parts of the Keys (especially Key Largo), which seemed to bear the full brunt of Irma's wrath.

The islands of the Florida Keys and western parts of the state bore the brunt of the category-four hurricane. "I don't have any numbers on fatalities at this point". Roads are flooded or covered with debris, and the cleanup efforts will be massive.

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At least one other possibly storm-related fatal auto crash was reported on Sunday in Orange County, Florida.

Among the seven, three died from auto crashes; one was killed after he lost control of a truck that carried a generator as winds whipped at tropical-storm strength; another was electrocuted by a downed power line and pronounced dead at the scene.

"These short-lived tornadoes will continue to develop across parts of SC and Georgia on Monday", Kottlowski said.

FEMA reported on Tuesday that Hurricane Irma destroyed a quarter of houses in the Keys.

Some 166,000 people in Georgia, including more than 17,000 in the city of Savannah, lost power as the outer bands of the storm lashed the state.

Occasional gusts between 40 and 60 miles per hour will be felt across eastern Tennessee, northern Alabama and Georgia, including the cities of Atlanta; Knoxville, Tennessee; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; and Augusta, South Carolina. "This was a king tide, so with that king tide and the storm surge, plus the heavy amount of rain that came in, there is considerable flooding". Last week it killed at least 37 people as it crossed the Caribbean. At least 35 people were reported killed across the Caribbean islands.

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