JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The record-breaking Hurricane Irma fizzled out into post-tropical cyclone early Tuesday, after upending the southeastern U.S. over the past few days.
The storm, which hit the lower Florida Keys on Sunday morning before traveling up the state’s southwestern coast into Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama, has left around 6 million customers without power in outages that could last for weeks.
At least 10 people have died in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina as a result of the storm, which at its peak unleashed winds of up to 185 mph. Officials cautioned residents to remain off the roads and not return to their homes until evacuation orders are lifted. At least 200,000 people in Florida alone were evacuated to shelters.
In the state’s northeastern corner, Jacksonville felt the brunt of Irma’s storm surges as the banks of the city’s rivers and tributaries overflowed, inundating city streets. Storm debris littered the roads, and damaged boats could be seen in some of the city’s waterways.
Elsewhere in the state, many cities remained virtually deserted even as storm conditions subsided. Shelters remained filled with some of the millions told to evacuate their homes ahead of the storms. Stores and restaurants remained shuttered, and no fuel was available at gas stations.
Nearby states also began to feel the wallop of Irma on Monday. Flash floods hit downtown Charleston, South Carolina, while nearly 1 million customers in Georgia lost power as the storm thumped the coast.
While damage to Florida’s west coast was less severe than forecasts anticipated, Gov. Rick Scott told residents to brace for a lengthy recovery.
“For the entire state, but especially for the Keys, it’s going to be a long road,” the Republican governor said.
And in the Caribbean, which Irma devastated late last week, residents began what will likely be a years-long process of recovery and rebuilding after the storm tore across the region, killing at least 38 people and leaving the island of Barbuda “barely habitable.”
David Lohr, Travis Waldron and Sebastian Murdock contributed reporting from Florida. Lydia O’Connor and Hayley Miller also contributed to this report.
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