Hurricane Jose weakens to Category 1; Remains of Irma in Georgia

Hurricane Jose weakens to Category 1; Remains of Irma in Georgiaā€¯

Storm-shocked Floridians are returning to shattered homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which has left more than half of all state residents without power and city streets underwater.

Tommy Nevitt carries Miranda Abbott, 6, through floodwaters from Hurricane Irma on the west side of Jacksonville, Fla., on Monday. "My concern is that even if we get to go in to the Lower Keys, our fragile infrastructure could be even more compromised".

The storm has left a widespread trail of damage and destruction in its wake, from the Keys to Miami and north to Jacksonville as well as Georgia and SC.

Irma has now been the subject of more than 80 advisories from the hurricane center, with the first dating back to August 30, when it was a tropical storm with sustained wind speeds of 50 miles per hour.

Media reports link at least four deaths to the storm in Florida.

Expected to be even more unsafe than the powerful winds are the storm surges that threaten Florida's coastal cities. "We've got to work hard to get them their power back".

The Keys are linked by 42 bridges that have to be checked for safety before motorists can be allowed in, officials said.

The National Hurricane Center has confirmed that winds will decrease to around 70 miles per hour and that the storm will continue to weaken as it moves further inland. Nonetheless, barrier islands like Marco Island, near Naples, reported rising flood water and a loss of electricity and drinking water, authorities said.

According to CNN, two tornadoes that destroyed several mobile homes were reported in Brevard County, although there were no casualties.

"This is going to be a very, very lengthy restoration, arguably the most lengthy restoration and most complex in USA history", he said, asking that customers be patient.

"We feel the building swaying all the time", Miami restaurant owner Deme Lomas told Reuters by phone from his 35th-floor apartment.

President Donald Trump has signed a disaster declaration that should speed federal funding to damaged areas in Florida.

Some 6.3 million people in the state were told to evacuate before Irma arrived.

Police blocked the entrance to the Florida Keys on Monday morning, according to the Miami Herald, to conduct rescue operations.

At least 26 people were arrested for burglary and looting Sunday night in Miami, and schools, airports and Orlando's DisneyWorld were on the list of closures.

In Bonita Springs, on Florida's hard-hit southwest coast, large areas were flooded and the entire city was without power.

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