Riding out Hurricane Irma in Key West, Florida

A 55-year-old man was killed on Monday afternoon after a tree fell on his house.

Florida residents began heading back to their homes as a weakened Hurricane Irma advanced inland, flooding several cities in the state’s north-east. More than 30,000 customers are without power in the Columbus area, and Georgia Power has advised local emergency personnel that they will not be sending out crews to fix damaged lines while the weather is poor.

More than 17,000 customers have already lost power in Savannah, Georgia.

By 5 p.m., the storm was hitting Fort Myers, moving north toward low-lying, vulnerable Tampa as a still-potent Category 2 storm.

In places like Marathon, people’s homes were obliterated by 130 miles per hour winds and almost 15-feet of storm surge.

Hurricane Irma left a trail of destruction in Naples, Florida after the powerful storm churned up the state’s west coast Sunday. Rick Scott’s office reported Monday that 5.8 million people were without electrical power.

It was downgraded from Category 5 to Category 4 hurricane once it neared USA mainland and lost some of its power after slamming the northern coast of Cuba.

At the time, forecasters anxious what would happen once the storm passed Tampa.

He pointed out that there are downed power lines and impassable roads throughout the state.

“I say we didn’t dodge a bullet, we dodged a cannonball”, Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine told CNBC on Monday. “The surge is yet to be finished”. At least 36 people died in the storm’s wake across the Caribbean.

In one of the largest US evacuations, almost 7 million people in the Southeast were warned to seek shelter, including 6.4 million in Florida alone.

In the low-lying Keys, appliances and furniture were seen floating away.

As well as being potentially expensive, the hurricane set a number of new records, according to the list by Colorado State University researcher Phil Klotzbach.

National Weather Service meteorologist Stephen Shiveley said if water from the bay had not receded, storm surge in the city would have been much higher.

On the Atlantic coast off South Carolina, Hilton Head Island’s 42,000 residents were under an evacuation order this morning.

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