Hurricane Irma latest: Florida communities reeling from powerful storm

The sun returned to parts of Florida Monday, revealing the devastation left by Hurricane Irma.

Downgraded to a tropical storm, Irma moved north into Georgia. It is blamed for at least two deaths there and at least five in Florida.

Nearly 7 million homes and businesses were without electricity Monday, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, and the White House said it could take weeks before it is all restored.

Estimates of the Florida damage covered by insurance range from $20-40 billion. Here is a look at some areas in the state that faced Irma’s wrath:

Key Largo

One of the hardest-hit places was the Florida Keys — the chain of low-lying islands off the southern tip of the Sunshine State. Officials said there is no electricity, no running water and no working sewage system in parts south of Key Largo, CBS News’ Elaine Quijano reports.

On Monday, an aerial view of devastation — the splintered homes and wind-tossed boats — was only matched by the scene on the ground. In the Lower Key areas, just 10 miles east of Irma’s landfall, the brute force of 130 mph winds and nearly 15 feet of storm surge easily destroyed Oceanside homes in Marathon and in Big Pine Key. Some homes were still smoldering from a fire that burned them to the ground.

Residents like Mike, a Marine reserve who was helping Houston recover from Harvey’s floods, came back to find destruction at his home.

“I got the walls up … going to have to rebuild it,” he told Qujano. “But hey, you live by the ocean … you got to take chances.”

The National Guard was conducting a door to door search for survivors in the hardest-hit areas. Residents who left are blocked from returning, and a dusk-to-dawn curfew is in effect. 

Relief missions were also organizing, tasked to identify any possible victims.

Road crews went mile by mile trying to evaluate the roads and bridges. So far, half of the 42 bridges have been deemed safe. But the Department of Defense warned that with no power or water, the 10,000 people who stayed may be forced to evacuate.

Those who stayed, like Ira Concrete, ventured out to find loved ones.

“When we were walking out, a neighbor about a block up … he survived,” Concrete told CBS News. “We talked to him on our way out.”

A look at the damage from Hurricane Irma in the Florida Keys.

CBS News

Florida Gov. Rick Scott took an aerial view of the damage and said recovery is a long way away.


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