Parts of the storm-ravaged Florida Keys will allow residents to return on Tuesday to survey damage from Hurricane Irma, which devastated the state with high winds and storm surges that destroyed homes and left millions without power. The storm passed just north of the islands on Saturday, Sept. 9, and is now about 300 miles northeast of Turks and Caicos, with top sustained winds of 100 mph. 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.
But Irma isn't done yet.
Irma sustained its 185-mph winds for 37 hours - "the longest any cyclone around the globe has maintained that intensity on record", according to Phil Klotzbach, a research scientist at Colorado State University.
Irma wreaked havoc over almost the entire Florida peninsula from the southernmost Keys to the Georgia line, from the Atlantic to the Gulf coasts.
Hurricane Irma is now headed to Florida after being upgraded to a Category 4 storm again when it travelled over the ocean.
A weakened Irma spread misery around the Southeast on Monday, triggering coastal flooding in parts of Georgia and SC while dumping heavy rains around the region.
Damage in Marco Island, Florida.
"Do not think the storm is over when the wind slows down", Scott said, pointing out that the risky storm surge "will rush in and could kill you". It continues to be a weather threat to the southeast, including some possible effects here in SC. Floodwaters continue to rise in the cities after heavy rainfall.
Harvey and Irma may be winding down, but another hurricane brewing in the Atlantic has the potential to impact the East Coast next week.
Daylight brought an opportunity to assess the damage in South Florida, although the full extent of the devastation remains unclear.
Irma has been blamed for three deaths in Florida, one in Georgia, and at least 36 in the Caribbean.
Hurricane Irma has been downgraded to Tropical Storm Irma, but that doesn't mean it didn't do plenty of damage while at the height of its power. A huge airborne relief mission was dispatched yesterday to assist with recovery efforts.
After Irma hit The Bahamas one beach was reduced to what looked like a field of mud as the water was displaced thanks to a negative surge caused by the storm.