Hurricane Irma leaves almost 6 million without power in Florida

Irma wreaks destruction on St Martin

Irma wreaks destruction on St Martin

Parts of the Caribbean and Florida bore the brunt of the storm's devastation: the small island of Barbuda emerged from the storm "barely habitable", while more than seven million people remained without power in Florida Monday.

Irma is now moving away from the coast of Cuba and is making landfall on the Florida Keys, which forms the southernmost portion of the state. Storm surges also swamped some coastal areas in Georgia and SC.

Gas stations across Manatee County that had power on Tuesday were starting to reopen, though it's likely that long lines will continue for the rest of the week. Governor Rick Scott has warned of a possible humanitarian crisis in the region "My heart goes out to the people on the Keys". Nonetheless, barrier islands like Marco Island, near Naples, reported rising flood water and a loss of electricity and drinking water, authorities said.

Before it reached Florida, Hurricane Irma cut a destructive swath through the Leeward Islands.

Meantime, flooding and widespread power outages remained a problem in Jacksonville, Florida's largest city, after the St. Johns River that flows through downtown experienced record levels Monday.

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After leaving Florida as a tropical storm, Irma killed three people in Georgia and one in SC, before being downgraded to a tropical depression over Columbus, Ga on Monday night.

"We don't have a comprehensive insight into what the damage is", Bryan Koon, Florida director of Emergency Management said late Sunday.

Five tornadoes were reported in Florida on Sunday, causing damage to several structures but there were no indications of anyone being seriously injured, the National Weather Service said.

Damaged sail boats are shown in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in the Florida Keys.

The former hurricane remained an huge, 668 km wide storm as its centre moved on from Florida Monday afternoon, giving its still-formidable gusts and drenching rains a far reach.

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Florida Power and Light said it had "safely shut down" one of two nuclear reactors at its Turkey Point power plant.

Hubert Baudoin, who has lived in the Keys for 30 years and owns two restaurants and a hotel, boarded up his properties to protect them from the storm and took shelter with a friend in a concrete shelter Mr. Baudoin built after Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Over the weekend, Irma claimed its first United States fatality - a man found dead in a pickup truck that had crashed into a tree in high winds in the town of Marathon, in the Florida Keys, local officials said. More than 100,000 customers were without power in Georgia and over 80,000 in SC.

Tomlinson signed a local state of emergency about 9 a.m. Monday and forwarded it to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal's office.

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