Hurricane Irma leaves Florida powerless, moves north

The Florida Keys faced a potentially catastrophic brew of winds topping 125 miles per hour and a storm surge that threatened to drown whole islands.

FPL chose to shut only one of the two reactors at its Turkey Point nuclear plant on Saturday because the storm track shifted, and plans to leave both reactors at the St. Lucie plant in service because hurricane force winds are no longer expected to hit the sites. He believes southwest Florida is the most impacted but cautions that numbers may rise as "Irma hasn't left".

Recovery operations are ramping up around Florida and beyond, even as the weakened vestiges of Irma dump rains across the South in such states as Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee.

But forecasters have warned the threat to life still remains, as Florida continues to be battered by 100mph winds and torrential rain. About 2,000 customers there are still without power. One person was found dead in a home in Shark Key.

More than 1 million residents had already lost power by Sunday morning, and it could be days before officials can provide food and water to those struggling in the aftermath of the powerful storm. Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda said 95 percent of Barbuda's buildings were destroyed or severely damaged.

Around the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, where Irma rolled through early Monday, damage appeared modest.

At least three people have died in the Florida Keys archipelago due to the battering storm.

Scott also announced that once the Department of Transportation clears road access to Port Everglades and Port Tampa, the Florida Highway Patrol will start to escort fuel trucks to gas stations. It took power crews two hours to disconnect the electricity so the mane could escape the vehicle. A total of 7 million people were told to evacuate ahead of the storm.

The Netherlands navy said the situation was "better than expected" after it passed north of the islands overnight.

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.

Big airports in Florida remain closed Monday with flight cancellations spreading along Irma's track outside Florida.

Naples was among the Florida cities pummeled by Hurricane Irma on September 10 - coincidentally the same day that Hurricane Donna devastated Naples 57 years ago, according to David Fralick, the city's communications manager. Petersburg area had braced for the first direct hit from a major hurricane since 1921.

  • Leroy Wright