The number of people left without power in Florida increased to 5.8 million overnight as Irma downed trees and flooded streets throughout the entirety of the state, state officials said Monday. It was the largest storm to hit the state in modern times.
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FPL said it expects to restore essentially all of its customers in the eastern portion of the state by the weekend and the harder-hit western portion Florida by Sept. 22.
Paul Morrisseau said he was surprised at the good condition of the beaches just after the storm. Do not let your fuel gauge fall below a quarter tank before you start looking for a place to refuel. A deputy and a paramedic, who had just escorted an elderly patient to safety, were trapped for two hours until a crew could free them. Photos of submerged freeways hint at the scale and scope of the damage to infrastructure: roads, sewers, water supplies, drainage systems, the METRORail light rail system, telephone and cable services, parks, and public buildings have all suffered damage.
"This is going to be a very, very lengthy restoration, arguably the most lengthy restoration and most complex in U.S. history", he said, asking that customers be patient.
Video recorded before and after Irma passed through shows the effect the storm had on Tampa Bay. For Lee, Russell, Barbour, Harris, Muscogee, Chattahoochee, Stewart, Webster, Marion, Troup, Meriwether, Talbot, Taylor, Schley and Sumter Counties: 45-55 mph sustained winds are possible with gusts up to 70mph.
"There are still 9 bridges that need final inspections. We got a little rain overnight, and not much else, some wind", O'Neal said.
In Lee County, more than 225,000 remain affected by outages, as well as more than 160,000 in Sarasota County.
"The first things we checked were the three construction areas (at the west, south and east of the lake) and those are fine", said John Campbell, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman. While Irma was unleashing fury the past few days, Jose was strengthening into a formidable Category 4 hurricane, normally something that would be the headliner for surfers in the Atlantic.
Around the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, where Irma rolled through early Monday, damage appeared modest.
Still, Scott predicted recovery could take a long time in many areas. "But they're going to be most acute on the coast". On its Twitter account, the sheriff's office said it hopes "people who had their lives saved yesterday will take evacuation orders seriously in the future". The success of these tools in accurately tracking Irma and Hurricane Harvey last month should inspire some in Congress to rethink the sense of severe cuts the Donald Trump administration has proposed for the NWS and the NOAA.
Rescuers had used boats, water scooters and even surfboards to get to residents surprised by the rising waters, said Kimberly Morgan, a spokeswoman for the Clay County emergency center.
"Making an argument like that is.irresponsible hair splitting and short-sighted", Wasserman Schultz said.
Landrum reported from Atlanta.
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