Floridians return to storm-battered homes


The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that Irma would continue moving over Georgia Monday night before reaching Alabama Tuesday morning.

The storm, located about 5 miles (10 kilometers) west of Columbus, Georgia, is still bringing heavy rain to the U.S. Southeast on Monday night.

Any disaster that wipes out electrical service hits especially hard in the South, where tens of millions of Americans rely on the cocoon of comfort provided by air conditioning.

The hurricane center has discontinued all storm surge and tropical storm warnings.

Asked about the Scott news release, Burt said he had just received it and was seeking clarification from the governor's office and the Office of Insurance Regulation. "I think our day has come", he said in a sombre voice. Authorities also struggled to clear the single highway connecting the string of islands to the mainland.

An aerial view from a helicopter shows damage done to some homes in Key West, Florida, after Hurricane Irma made landfall about 32km outside the island city.

The death toll from Hurricane Irma continued to climb today in the United States, with at least 30 dead across three states.

By Wednesday afternoon, state emergency management officials estimate that one third - or 6.4 million - residents remained without power in the Sunshine state.

At a news conference Tuesday, both the FEMA administrator and acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke avoided explicitly answering questions about whether Washington needs to focus more on climate change after Harvey and Irma.

There are now reports that people may need to be evacuated off the islands because it could take weeks to restore water and power. "My concern is that even if we get to go in to the Lower Keys, our fragile infrastructure could be even more compromised". "What's going to happen now? I just don't know".

Kevin Mitchell, vice president of investor relations for HCI Group, which operates Homeowners Choice Insurance, said, "It's too early to tell where claims are trending".

Irma cut off communication in entire neighborhoods and communities, particularly on Cudjoe Key, where the storm made landfall Sunday, and numerous other Keys.

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He knew she had been preparing her classroom for two weeks and had a "joy in her heart" for her job, Mark Wallen said. Both of them were captured together on surveillance video at a grocery store near Wallen's home on September 2.

Heading north, in Charleston, which has experienced record flooding from Irma's storm surge, roughly 13 percent of the stations were without gas.

Irma's top sustained winds are 35 miles per hour, and it is moving northwest at 15 miles per hour.

But when it came to the west coast of the peninsula, the storm was not as destructive as some had originally feared, Scott said. The damage in his city and in his neighborhood on Cudjoe Key didn't match those dire numbers, he said.

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

"I got the walls up ... going to have to rebuild it", he told Qujano.

"HELP IS ON THE WAY", they promised on Facebook. But we did see kind of a tiny glimmer of hope as we flew over a different stretch of that road, the Seven Mile Bridge that connects Marathon to the lower Keys. Florida officials Monday said two people were killed in the state. "But hey, you live by the ocean ... you got to take chances".

A tornado spun off by Irma was reported on the Georgia coast, and firefighters inland had to rescue several people after trees fell on their homes. In South Carolina, utility officials reported progress in halving the number of outages from a peak of about 250,000 customers.

Irma's rainy remnants, meanwhile, pushed through Alabama and MS after drenching Georgia.

Key West is home to about 25,000 people, along with a significant homeless population.

While acknowledging the public's frustration, utility officials said they are getting power back on faster than they did after Hurricane Wilma hit the state 12 years ago.

They include providing an additional 90 days to policyholders to provide required information to their insurance companies, rescinding for 90 days all non-renewals or cancellations issued to policyholders in the days leading up to Hurricane Irma, and "freezing any and all efforts to increase rates" on policyholders for 90 days.