Nearly 4.5 million without power in Florida

About 30,000 people heeded orders to evacuate the low-lying islands as the storm closed in, but an untold number refused. The Keys, which largely emptied out ahead of the storm, will remain desolate until that water and power is restored. Cell service is spotty. Monroe County officials said gas is "limited", and AT&T was working to restore cellphone service.

Indian-Americans in Atlanta and Georgia pooled in their resources to help several million people from Florida affected by Irma.

A government architect from Montserrat, Linda Dias, said, in a Facebook post, that houses on many Caribbean islands are built to withstand hurricane winds, just not ones at the speed Irma reached.

The City of Columbia said later Tuesday that Arthur Strudwick, a public works assistant superintendent in the forestry and beautification division, was killed in a single-vehicle accident Monday night on Farrow Road while traveling to a downed tree. She did not have a count on how many.

This is a life-threatening situation, NHC says. By 2 a.m. ET, it had sustained winds of 85 mph with its center 25 miles northeast of Tampa. Then, there's the lone model taking the storm through The Bahamas before making another Florida landfall.

Floridians are returning to their homes and businesses amid the destruction left by fierce Hurricane Irma that also ravaged several states in the southeast U.S. and islands in the Caribbean.

At least 37 others died from Irma in the Caribbean, including at least 10 in Cuba.

As crews laboured to fix the lone highway connecting the Keys, residents of some of the islands closest to Florida's mainland were allowed to return and get their first look at the devastation two days after Irma roared in with 130mph winds.

Nearly 7 million customers in five Southeastern states are without power.

Silagy said Irma caused the most widespread damage in the company's history.

More than 180,000 people huddled in shelters in the Sunshine State.

"It's devastating", Florida Gov. Rick Scott said after emerging from a Monday fly-over of the Keys. At a checkpoint near the Upper Keys, residents slept in their cars and waited for hours just to see if they still have a home. "We understand what it means to be hot and without air conditioning", Gould said. "The low is likely to dissipate by Tuesday evening". State officials have warned those traffic patterns will reverse as those residents try to return home.

No timetable was given for reopening the remainder of the Keys, which are linked by a series of causeways and bridges down to Key West, a popular tourist spot on the southern tip of Florida.

Jose appears to have spared, for the most part, the Caribbean islands hardest hit by Irma last week, but it still has maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour. And crews worked to fix two washed-out, 300-foot sections of US 1, the lone highway from the mainland, and check the safety of the 42 bridges linking the islands.

Scott said 65% of Florida was without power.

"Strong winds and flash flooding still a major risk with the storm as it moves into north Florida and toward Georgia over the next 24 hours", the center said.

"Each one of us has a cot, a single foot apart", Beyersdorf said on Monday afternoon.

"The bad news is that this is some big monster, but I think we're really well coordinated", he said. And so it's going to ... take us a little bit longer to do everything we care to do after a storm because we have to bring the assets south.

  • Salvatore Jensen