UPDATES: President Trump visits Florida after Hurricane Irma

Power may not be restored for more than week for many

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Get the latest on Hurricane Irma:

THURSDAY

4:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he's planning to visit the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, which were both badly damaged by Hurricane Irma.

Trump told reporters Thursday aboard Air Force One that he'll be making the trip "at the end of next week or the following week."

Trump spent the day surveying flood damage and visiting with storm victims in Florida.

He's also been to Texas twice after Hurricane Harvey.

2:50 p.m.

Federal officials say that nursing homes normally reserved for veterans will be opened up to non-veteran nursing home residents if space is available, in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson announced Thursday that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs had agreed to open its nursing homes following eight deaths at Florida nursing home. Florida has seven nursing homes throughout the state that are available to residents who were veterans.

Multiple nursing homes and assisted living centers in Florida have evacuated their residents after losing electric power.

U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin said in a statement that available beds will be offered to non-veterans, although the agency would continue to focus on its primary mission of assisting veterans.

2:45 p.m.

Florida Chief Justice Jorge Labarga has begun issuing orders extending legal deadlines in state courts due to Hurricane Irma. Under Florida's court rules, the chief justice has authority to extend deadlines on a county-by-county basis or by appellate district when an emergency like Irma hinders public access to the courts system.

The first orders posted Thursday on the court website cover Martin, Indian River, St. Lucie and Okeechobee Counties. The chief judges of the local courts are continuing to request these orders, and the requests are being processed as they come in.

Each order extends time limits to the close of business on the day the local court fully reopens, giving everyone an extra full day to meet their deadlines. In addition, anyone who has encountered a special hardship in the storm can ask the local court to make additional accommodations.

The orders are being posted on this website.

1:45 p.m.

Authorities say carbon monoxide poisoning is the likely cause of death for another Florida resident using an electric generator for power after Hurricane Irma.

The Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department reported Thursday that 26-year-old Elvin Milian was pronounced dead one day earlier at a hospital. He had been found by emergency responders at his home near Hialeah, where a generator was running.

The medical examiner is awaiting toxicology results before making a final determination on the cause of death.

Previously, Florida had reported at least six carbon monoxide deaths since Irma.

When used improperly, generators can trap toxic fumes and cause death. Experts say generators, as well as charcoal and gas burning grills, should always be used outdoors and never inside where they can't be properly ventilated.

1:20 p.m.

The Florida Health Care Association says 64 of the state's 683 nursing homes are still without power, four days after Hurricane Irma raked the state.

The association released a statement giving that total as of Thursday morning.

The statement said, in part, said, "A natural disaster of this magnitude presents extreme challenges to every sector, especially those entrusted with the care of Florida's aging seniors. We continue to maintain close communications with local, state, and federal officials and the appropriate utility companies and aid organizations to ensure that power is restored to every facility in Florida as soon as possible."

12:45 p.m.

A spokesman for Florida's largest utility is telling people who have medical equipment that relies on electricity to call 911 if they are still without power.

Bryan Garner with Florida Power & Light said Thursday that the utility has restored electricity to more than 100 hospitals in its service territory.

But he said that if someone relies on medical equipment that needs power that they should not wait for the utility to restore electricity. Garner said authorities should be alerted so they can be taken somewhere where they can be helped such as a special needs shelter.

Garner comments came a day after eight people who had been living at a Florida nursing home died. State and local authorities are conducting a criminal investigation to determine what led to the patient deaths.

12:15 p.m.

After eight people died in a sweltering Florida nursing home that lost air conditioning in Hurricane Irma, an association of assisted living centers is trying to get a count of how many of their 820 facilities are still without power.

Florida Assisted Living Association CEO Shaddrick Haston said Thursday that most are in heavily populated Miami-Dade and Collier counties.

Haston said they are still hearing from facilities that need power, and are working with other facilities that do have electricity and may have generators available to loan.

He said the association is also helping non-member assisted living facilities. In all, Florida has more than 3,100 assisted living facilities. Multiple other facilities were evacuated.

Eight patients died at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills.

Noon

A search warrant has been granted for a Florida nursing home where eight patients died days after Hurricane Irma.

Hollywood police said in a statement Thursday that state and local authorities are conducting a criminal investigation to determine what led to the patient deaths at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills.

They said detectives are on the scene, and their initial investigation determined the facility had some power but its air conditioning system wasn't fully functional.

Police said 145 people were evacuated to Memorial Regional Hospital on Wednesday: 141 from the nursing home and four from an adjacent behavioral health center. Memorial Regional Hospital treated 119 evacuees, and 39 have been admitted to the hospital and other hospitals nearby.

Gov. Rick Scott directed the Agency for Health Care Administration to issue an emergency moratorium on the facility. City spokeswoman Raelin Storey said the moratorium prevents the center from housing any patients.

11:30 a.m.

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson has asked the nation's largest cable, telephone and internet providers for rebates to Hurricane Irma victims for service interruptions.

The Democratic U.S. senator also asked them Thursday for a 60-day moratorium on late fees and other penalties.

Nelson wrote to the CEOs of AT&T, CenturyLink, Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Enterprises, Frontier Communications, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. In a statement, he called for them to "lend a helping hand to your fellow Americans-to help them meet their immediate needs without the added stress of excessive financial demands."

His office cited Federal Communications Commission data showing that at least 8.1 million cable and wireline subscribers have lost service in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia because of Hurricane Irma. The FCC also reported that 18 percent of cell sites in Florida were out of service.

11:10 a.m.

Residents at an assisted living facility in suburban Fort Lauderdale who have been without power since Hurricane Irma are being moved to two facilities across the street that have electricity.

Wilton Manors City Manager Leigh Ann Henderson told The Associated Press on Thursday that the Williamsburg Landing assisted living facility has been using generators to power portable air conditioner units in certain areas of the building.

All three facilities are owned by the same company, Manor Oaks. Williamsburg is the last assisted living facility in the city without power.

The move is being done "to make the residents more comfortable," Henderson said. "It's a comfort issue."

State records show Williamsburg Landing is licensed to have 100 beds.

10:55 a.m.

Authorities say it appears Interstate 75 will remain open throughout Florida for people returning home after fleeing Hurricane Irma because a potential flooding threat has subsided.

The Alachua County Sheriff's Office said Thursday on Twitter that state transportation officials intend to keep traffic flowing on the key artery. Authorities had feared a much slower detour route might be necessary if the Santa Fe River flooded the interstate near Gainesville.

Interstates 75 and 95 are the two main routes out of Florida to the north. Both have seen massive traffic jams as people first left as Irma approached and then began returning home.

10:50 a.m.

Georgia's governor is getting a firsthand look at storm damage caused by Irma.

Gov. Nathan Deal was scheduled Thursday to fly over some of the hardest hit areas in northern Georgia as well as on the coast. The governor planned to speak with reporters during stops in Cornelia and Brunswick.

Fewer than 269,000 customers of Georgia Power and Georgia Electric Membership Corp. were still without electricity Thursday morning. That's down from 1.5 million in the dark Monday when Irma crossed Georgia as a weakened tropical storm.

Irma's punch was felt statewide. Storm surge flooded homes and businesses on the coast, while tropical storm winds toppled trees onto roads, homes and power lines north of Atlanta.

9:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump is praising the recovery efforts in Florida before departing for the state to survey damage from Hurricane Irma.

The president told reporters at the White House that "power is being turned on rapidly," and the state's leaders and emergency responders are doing an "amazing job" in helping the state respond to the massive storm.

Trump was traveling to Naples and Fort Myers on Florida's southwestern coast to meet with those affected by the hurricane and learn more about relief efforts. Trump was being joined by Vice President Mike Pence and was also traveling with first lady Melania Trump.

His trip to Florida follows two earlier outings in which Trump reviewed recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey in late August.

7:30 a.m.

Fire rescue teams have evacuated 122 people from two assisted living facilities near Orlando after the Orange County fire chief order firefighters to assess conditions of all elderly communities in the area following the deaths of eight at another nursing home.

Fire Spokeswoman Kat Kennedy told local news outlets that Brookdale Wekiwa Springs and Green Tree Assisted Living had been without power since Hurricane Irma crossed Florida earlier this week. Officials evacuated 82 residents from Brookdale on Wednesday night and 40 from Green Tree.

Kennedy says 66 patients were transported by bus and 16 were picked up by family members.

Mary Ann Lettore said she picked up her father from Brookdale on Wednesday because he'd fallen and cut his arm during the storm. She took him to a hospital, where he was diagnosed with dehydration.

Kennedy says the residents were obviously "very hot." She said she doesn't have information on how often they were provided food and water.

Eight residents died at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills after the facility lost air conditioning.

6:50 a.m.

Sheriff's officials in Florida say two men are accused of trying to steal a $2,500 utility pole days after Hurricane Irma caused severe flooding in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Sheriff's officials say 42-year-old Blake Lee Waller and 46-year-old Victor Walter Apeler were arrested on grand theft charges Wednesday after someone reported seeing them load the pole onto a sports utility vehicle.

A police report says an officer noticed a light pole missing from an area on top of a bridge and then spotted a vehicle driving with the pole on top. He stopped the vehicle and arrested the men.

The report says Apeler told investigators he was moving the pole because it was on the ground so close to traffic lanes. A database search found Apeler had 72 scrap metal-related transactions for recycling since January.

A picture of the shirtless men sitting handcuffed on the sidewalk quickly drew attention on the sheriff's office Twitter feed.

3 a.m.

Florida emergency workers have been urged to immediately check the welfare of those in nursing homes after eight people died in a scorching facility that lost its air conditioning during Hurricane Irma.

Victims Wednesday at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills were as old as 99, and there were worries the count could grow.

Sen. Bill Nelson called the deaths "inexcusable."

Elsewhere in South Florida, other alarms were sounded for older residents.

In Coral Gables, an apartment building was evacuated after authorities said its lack of power made it unsafe for elderly tenants.

And at the huge, 15,000-resident Century Village retirement community in Pembroke Pines, where there were also widespread outages, rescue workers went door to door in the 94-degree heat checking on residents and bringing ice, water and meals.

WEDNESDAY

7:20 p.m.

The cost of Hurricane Irma to Florida has already surpassed what the state spent during Hurricane Matthew last year.

During a Wednesday briefing at the Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee, 32 state government agencies have reported spending more than $273,522,000 on preparations and recovery efforts.

The final tally for Hurricane Matthew, which affected the state last October, was about $268,499,000.

Florida House of Representatives Speaker Richard Corcoran says the Legislature could call a special session if needed to tackle storm-related issues. Lawmakers were scheduled to be in Tallahassee this week for the first round of committee weeks to prepare for next year's legislative session, but that was called off last week. The next committee week is slated to convene on Oct. 9.

Gov. Rick Scott said on Tuesday that it was too early for his office to assess the need for a special session.

6:45 p.m.

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp is angrily denouncing people who have complained about the islands' pace of recovery from Hurricane Irma.

Mapp said people were being "unrealistic" about the amount of time it would take to get full power and water restored. He said he was frustrated with the "ingratitude" of people, an apparent reference to complaints on social media and the radio.

He said people who didn't realize the recovery would be "long and hard" should get on a flight or a mercy ship out of the territory.

Mapp said he also would direct the local disaster management agency to increase the amount of food rations and water that people are receiving and cut back the curfew by two hours.

Mapp also noted that regularly scheduled flights out of St. Thomas will resume on Saturday. He also noted that former San Antonio Spurs basketball star Tim Duncan would accompany New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg to the territory on Thursday with more than $5 million in donated aid. Duncan is a native of the Virgin Islands.

6:45 p.m.

Rising rivers and flooding in northwest Florida due to Irma are making traffic matters worse on state roads.

A portion of Interstate 27 just north of Gainesville has been shut down due to rising flood waters from the Santa Fe River. The State Department of Transportation says the river has risen 15 feet (4.5 meters) over the past 36 hours.

The river might cause a 36-mile (58-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 75 to shut down.

6 p.m.

The number of deaths in connection to Hurricane Irma has now risen to 61 after authorities reported three more fatalities in Florida.

The three new casualties include a 7-year-old girl who died from apparent carbon-monoxide poisoning, a man who died after falling and striking his head, and a man who crashed his car after fleeing his home.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office said in a news release that the girl died at a Lakeland home that had a generator running inside.

Bill Pellan is director of investigations for the medical examiner's office serving Pinellas and Pasco counties. Pellan says 68-year-old Freddie Bryant of Largo fell and struck his head while he and his wife were packing their car to evacuate their mobile home. Bryant died at a St. Petersburg hospital.

Pellan says 69-year-old Mart Daniels crashed his car after fleeing his home in Port Richey on Sunday night.

4:45 p.m.

The number of residents at a Florida nursing home who died after Hurricane Irma knocked out the air conditioning has risen to eight.

The office of the Broward Medical Examiner and Trauma Services issued a news release Wednesday afternoon with the names of the victims. Three of the victims were found dead early Wednesday at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, after police got a call about a person with a heart attack. Police say the others died at the hospital or on the way. The victims range in age from 71 to 99.

4:30 p.m.

The manager of a Florida nursing home where eight people died following Hurricane Irma has a history of health-care fraud accusations.

Federal court records show the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami filed civil charges in 2004 against Dr. Jack Michel, several other individuals, and several businesses, including Larkin Health Systems. Larkin Health Systems owns The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, where three patients were found dead at the nursing home early Wednesday after police got a call about a person with a heart attack. Police say three more died at the hospital or on the way.

In 1997, before Michel owned Larkin, federal prosecutors say he and others participated in a kickback scheme that involved paying doctors for referrals and admission to Larkin Community Hospital. Prosecutors say that after he bought the hospital in 1998, Michel and others fraudulently increased the number of patients at the facility, along with their Medicare and Medicaid revenues, by bringing in patients from nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

The case was settled in 2006 for $15.4 million.

4:30 p.m.

Pumps are being moved into southwest Florida to help drain floodwaters from communities drenched by Irma's rainfall and storm surge.

The South Florida Water Management District was temporarily moving three pumps from Palm Beach County to Collier County, which officials say was one of the hardest-hit areas in the 16-county district that spans a region stretching from the Keys in the South to Orlando in central Florida.

The district also is helping Orlando International Airport drain water from its property to nearby Boggy Creek, officials said.

Floodwaters also are being pumped into Lake Okeechobee away from communities and business in the Glades region south of the lake, officials said.

4:30 p.m.

A Florida woman who gave birth without a doctor present as Hurricane Irma was approaching Miami has described the experience as "traumatizing."

Because emergency responders were unable to make it to the scene Sunday, Watkins had to give birth in a Miami apartment while she and her boyfriend, David Knight, listened to instructions over the phone from a 911 dispatcher and a doctor.

The couple discussed the ordeal during a news conference Wednesday while Watkins held her newborn daughter. Destiny Knight was born two days before her due date, weighing 6 pounds (3 kilograms), 11 ounces (310 grams) and measuring 20 inches (50 centimeters).

 

Watkins says she never considered naming her daughter Irma.

2:55 p.m.

An Associated Press journalist is describing what it was like to spend five nights in 4 motels on the run from Hurricane Irma.

Mary Rajkumar is an editor based in Miami.

She and her family crisscrossed Florida trying to escape the wrath of Hurricane Irma. They hopscotched from motel to motel before ending up in Jacksonville.

But Irma was so wide the storm reached across the whole state and hit them there.

She describes struggling to find hotels with vacancies and restaurants that were open.

In Jacksonville, the only option appeared to be a Waffle House with a line of 200 people. So instead, her relatives tried a nearby Thai restaurant.

The owners said they weren't open but were just there to check for any damage. Still, they agreed to feed Rajkumar's family of five adults and two teenagers. She says the search for food was a surprising sight in a country known for its hot dog eating contests and supersized Slurpees.

2:50 p.m.

The number of Georgia residents without electricity after Hurricane Irma keeps dropping, and Georgia Power says nearly all of its customers should have their lights back on before the weekend is over.

More than 510,000 customers of Georgia Power and Georgia Electric Membership Corp remained without power Wednesday afternoon. That's down from 1.5 million outages when Irma crossed Georgia as a tropical storm Monday.

Georgia Power said in a news release that 95 percent of its customers should have electricity restored by Sunday night, except for homes or businesses too damaged for power to be reconnected.

Irma killed two people in Georgia as it flooded coastal communities and toppled trees across most of the state. Gov. Nathan Deal was scheduled to tour storm damaged areas Thursday.

2:45 p.m.

A Florida woman fleeing her home because of Hurricane Irma will go back home with $10,000 after buying a lottery scratch-off ticket during a stop in North Carolina.

The N.C. Education Lottery reports Tiffany Hatfield of Ocoee, Florida, stopped at a Rocky Mount convenience store before continuing to Virginia. The mother of three said she only stopped at the store because her daughter had to use the bathroom. She said she and her children started screaming when they realized they won.

Hatfield claimed her prize on Tuesday. She is already on her way back to Florida, and said she plans to use the money for any repairs she needs, and to redecorate the house with any money left over.

2:35 p.m.

Authorities are working to check on other assisted living and retirement communities after six patients at a sweltering Florida nursing home died in Irma's aftermath.

The patients who died were from the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills. Hollywood police Chief Tom Sanchez said police officers were expected to finish checking in on the city's 42 other assisted living and similar facilities early Wednesday afternoon.

At Century Village in Pembroke Pines, more than half of the residential buildings -- 77 of 144 -- were still without power Wednesday afternoon.

Rescue crews from several area municipalities were going door to door in 94-degree heat to perform welfare checks, and a massive water, ice and meal distribution plan was already enacted.

Gov. Rick Scott's office said it has been in regular contact with hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities since before the storm. They are told to call 911 if they believe patients are in danger.

Florida requires nursing homes to file an emergency plan with the county officials that includes evacuation plans for residents.

1:50 p.m.

Authorities say a 55-year-old Florida man who was preparing his home for Hurricane Irma died after falling off a ladder.

The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's office reported Wednesday that Vincent Forest was pronounced dead Sunday at a Tampa hospital, a day after the accident at his Lake Placid home.

An autopsy performed Tuesday concluded the cause of death was blunt impact to his head, including skull fractures, brain bruising and internal bleeding.

Forest was married and worked for Glade and Grove Supply Co. agricultural dealership.

His is the 20th death in the U.S. blamed on Irma. Six other deaths of patients in a sweltering nursing home are being investigated.

1:35 p.m.

Surviving patients are being treated for dehydration after several others died at a sweltering Florida nursing home in Irma's aftermath.

Dr. Randy Katz is the emergency room director for Memorial Regional Hospital, which is adjacent to the nursing home in Hollywood. He said Wednesday afternoon that about a dozen people still are being treated in the ER. When asked if he expects the death toll to rise, Katz said, "potentially." Six have died so far.

He said most patients are being treated for dehydration, respiratory distress and heat-related problems.

The rest of the nursing home's patients have also been evacuated.

Hollywood police Chief Tom Sanchez said investigators who arrived at a nursing home found "very hot" conditions inside. The center was having problems with its air-conditioning, and investigators are looking into whether it had power or was using generators.

Sanchez said police officers were expected to finish checking in on the city's 42 other assisted living and similar facilities early Wednesday afternoon.

1:10 p.m.

Former state senator and current Broward County Commissioner Nan Rich said she has been inundated with calls about nursing homes and assisted living facilities that are running out of fuel for generators.

Six patients have died at a Broward County nursing home that was having problems with air-conditioning. Authorities were investigating whether it was using a generator and if the power was cut.

Rich said Florida Power & Light Company should make facilities like that its first priority as it works to restore power knocked out around the state by Hurricane Irma.

She said the power company's priorities "are messed up."

She said she hasn't been satisfied with Florida Power and Light's response to the county.

 

"They're saying that some of these places may not be up for a week or two," she said. "These people can't survive that."

12:55 p.m.

A Florida Keys facility that rehabilitates injured sea turtles has some new arrivals after Hurricane Irma.

At the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, the rescued sea creatures sat in tanks fed by water pumped with a generator on Wednesday.

A tiny green sea turtle rescued by a Monroe County emergency employee from storm rubble was the first rescue after the hurricane. It was in a tiny plastic bin flipping around.

Hospital director Richie Moretti offered a quip about what they chose to call her.

He said: "Guess her name? Irma."

12:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump will travel to the Naples area as part of a visit to hurricane-damaged Florida on Thursday.

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president will be in the Naples area, in southwest Florida. Few additional details were available.

Nearly all of the state was engulfed by the massive Hurricane Irma. The number of people without has dropped to 9.5 million - just under half of Florida's population. Utility officials warned it could take 10 days or more for power to be fully restored. About 110,000 people remained in shelters across the state.

Trump visited Texas and Louisiana after Hurricane Harvey struck both states in late August.

12:20 p.m.

Monroe County officials say water service is slowly being restored to the Florida Keys.

County officials said in a Facebook update Wednesday: "MORE WATER IS COMING"

Water would be turned on for two-hour spurts Wednesday morning and evening in Key West, but officials warned it would need to be boiled before drinking.

Key Largo to Marathon should have water in areas that do not have damage to individual service lines

But water in the Lower Keys from Key West to the 7-Mile Bridge was still unavailable due to what officials described as major storm damage.

They also cautioned that water remains in short supply and should be conserved.

11:50 a.m.

City officials say a sixth patient from a Florida nursing home has died in aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

A news release from the city of Hollywood says that three patients were found dead in the facility early Wednesday, while others were taken to the hospital and pronounced dead there. A late morning news release said a total of six have died.

Hollywood Police Chief Tom Sanchez said investigators believe the deaths at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills were heat-related. He said the building has been sealed off for the criminal investigation but didn't give further details.

The rest of the center's patients were evacuated. The center has had electricity and air-conditioning problems after Irma.

11:30 a.m.

Several gas stations and a hardware store have reopened in the upper Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma.

But residents still weren't being allowed past Lower Matecumbe Key.

On Conch Key in Coral Key Village, a devastated trailer park remained a debris-filled ghost town. Cars left behind were covered in silt, and seaweed and strewn furniture filled what a week ago were yards. A line of fallen mailboxes still had mail from before Irma inside.

Near Marathon, a sunken boat was visible in the once-again turquoise water.

At Marathon International Airport, workers loaded pallets of water onto military helicopters.

11:20 a.m.

Authorities have identified a Georgia man killed as Tropical Storm Irma slogged through the state.

The Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office in Atlanta said Wednesday that 59-year-old Stanley Williams died when a tree fell on his home in suburban Sandy Springs. The death was previously announced, but the identity wasn't immediately given.

Williams is among two fatalities in Georgia blamed on Irma, which crossed the state's southwest corner Monday but was large enough to cause damage throughout the state.

The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office said a tree falling onto a car killed 67-year-old Nancy Eason. Eason was a retired court reporter. Her husband, Mike Eason, is a former Cumming police chief and retired agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Mike Eason was driving the car and suffered minor injuries.

11:15 a.m.

A criminal investigation has been launched into the deaths of five patients at a Florida nursing home in Irma's aftermath.

Hollywood Police Chief Tom Sanchez said investigators believe the five deaths at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills were heat-related. He said the building has been sealed off for the criminal investigation but didn't give further details.

A total of 115 patients were evacuated from the nursing home, which lost power in the storm and had no air conditioning. Sanchez did not answer questions regarding whether a generator was running inside the place.

Jean Lindor, a kitchen worker, said through a Haitian Creole translator that the air conditioner had not been working since the storm and it had been hot inside.

Paulburn Bogle, a member of the housekeeping staff, said the place had been hot but manageable the past few days. The staff used fans, put cold towels and ice on the patients and gave them cold drinks.

10:50 a.m.

NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is still closed Wednesday in Irma's aftermath.

The center still lacks water service, and a post-storm survey has turned up some damage.

About 9,000 people work at Kennedy, most of them contractors.

Several private companies, including Boeing and SpaceX, have operations at Kennedy and reported minimal damage.

10:45 a.m.

Officials in the Florida Keys say it's too early to estimate the financial losses from Hurricane Irma, but they noted that Monroe County and Florida have some of the strongest building codes in the country.

Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers noted that the damage looks bad from the air. But from the ground she noted that "when you clear the trees and all the debris, it's not much damage to the houses.

The county's message appeared push back against more dire damage estimates from federal officials this week.

Carruthers, who lives in Key West, said her house built in 1889 lost shutters but sustained no other damage.

Officials say damage was more severe in the areas around Big Pine Key and Cudjoe Key.

10:30 a.m.

After five nursing home residents died in Hollywood, Florida, a street nearby street was swarmed with police, fire trucks and ambulances.

The streets around the center have been blocked off and a mobile command center has been set up outside.

Hollywood police chief Tom Sanchez said during a news conference that officers and fire crews responded Wednesday morning to a call from the facility about some patients in need of critical care.

He said crews evacuated 115 patients from the center and are in the process of evacuating another 18 patients from a nearby behavioral facility next door.

The 152-bed Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills provides short-term rehabilitative services and long-term care, according to its website

9:50 a.m.

Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief says five people have died from a Florida nursing home that had lost power after Hurricane Irma roared through the state.

Police and fire crews began evacuating the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills on Wednesday morning. Sharief confirmed during a news conference that three residents died at the center and two died at the hospital.

Sharief said there are no details about the cause of the deaths. No further details were immediately available.

9 a.m.

One of the main highways that connects Florida to the rest of the country is in danger of being closed due to flooding caused by Hurricane Irma.

The Santa Fe River in north central Florida that runs under Interstate 75 has rapidly risen within the past two days, according to Florida transportation officials. Officials say the water will likely rise further in the coming days.

The bridge that crosses the river is just north of Gainesville, the home to the University of Florida. If the highway is closed it would require major detours for those trying to return to the state after evacuating due to Irma.

Tennessee is scheduled to play UF this weekend in Gainesville meaning it could cause problems for those trying to attend the game.

9 a.m.

The cleanup effort continues in South Carolina after rain, wind, and flooding prompted by Irma.

Utilities in South Carolina reported more than 63,000 customers were without service Wednesday morning.

Duke Energy had the largest number of outages with nearly 37,000 customers without service. The biggest problems were in Greenville, Anderson and Pickens counties.

The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina reported nearly 15,000 customers without power. Their biggest problems were in Oconee and Charleston counties.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. had nearly 12,000 customers without service. Beaufort and Charleston counties had the most customers without electricity.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster on Tuesday lifted an evacuation order that had been in effect on the barrier islands in the southern part of the state.

All state offices were resuming normal operating hours Wednesday.

9 a.m.

The National Park Service said Irma's rains and storm surge left 3 feet (1 meter) of water inside Fort Sumer in South Carolina.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reported that there was some damage to the fort's docking pier and some interior facilities. But National Park Service officials say no artifacts were damaged.

Dawn Davis with the Fort Sumter National Monument says it will be several days before the fort reopens to the public.

Davis said the Charles Pinckney site in Mount Pleasant and Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island will reopen to the public Thursday.

Fort Sumter was the site of the first battle of the Civil War.

9 a.m.

One person has died in a Hollywood, Florida, nursing home that has no power.

Police spokeswoman Miranda Grossman told local news outlets that fire and police crews began evacuating residents at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills on Wednesday morning.

It wasn't immediately known whether the resident's death was heat related or due to natural causes.

No further details were immediately available.

Hollywood is between Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

8:40 a.m.

The number of power outages continues to drop in Georgia after the remnants of Hurricane Irma stormed through the state, claiming at least two lives.

Less than 600,000 Georgia Power and Electric Member Corp. customers are still without power early Wednesday. The utility companies said they are continuing to assess damage as power is restored.

The utility companies say repairs and replacement of downed powerlines could take several days.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal lifted an evacuation order Tuesday for nearly 540,000 coastal residents. He cautioned that recovery could take longer because the storm affected the entire state.

A man was killed when a tree toppled on his house in Sandy Springs, Georgia. The 67-year-old Nancy Eason died after a tree fell on a vehicle in which she was riding in Forsyth County.

7:50 a.m.

One person has died and three others are being treated at a hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning from an electric generator in Daytona Beach, Florida, the latest such death as people across the state wait for power to be restored after Hurricane Irma.

Daytona Beach Fire Department officials said on Twitter that a generator was running inside the home early Wednesday. Further details weren't immediately available.

Officials across Florida are warning people to keep generators outside their homes.

In nearby Orange County, deputies found three people dead and four others were taken to a hospital for treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning Tuesday afternoon. Carbon monoxide from a generator is also suspected in the death of a man in Miami. And authorities say another dozen people were treated for carbon monoxide on Tuesday in Polk and Brevard counties.

6:45 a.m.

More than half of a large retirement community in Pembroke Pines, Florida, remains without power after Hurricane Irma, leaving senior citizens trapped in apartments without access to elevators.

Pembroke Pines police spokeswoman Amanda Conwell tells the Miami Herald that officers have been on the scene because some of the 15,000 residents at Century Village are vulnerable and "we are concerned about their welfare."

Century Village is a senior community, comprised mostly of people over 55 years of age. Pembroke Pines is northwest of Miami in Broward County.

6:25 a.m.

Firefighters had to remove boards from a home that caught on fire in St. Petersburg, Florida, before pulling two adults and two teens to safety.

St. Petersburg Fire Rescue District Chief Steve Girk tells local news outlets that firefighters couldn't tell how big the fire was when they arrived early Wednesday because of the plywood over windows. They pulled off the boards to get inside.

The homeowner told firefighters the house lost power during Hurricane Irma.

Investigators don't yet know what caused the fire. Authorities didn't identify the family.

The American Red Cross has been asked to help the family. However they're dealing with a high volume of cases since the hurricane.

5:20 a.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron is visiting hurricane-hammered St. Barts after reportedly staying overnight on the nearby island of St. Martin on a camp cot.

Macron is on a visit aimed at offering support and solidarity with struggling islanders after his government had been criticized for not doing enough to prepare and help France's Caribbean territories devastated by Hurricane Irma last week.

Macron's office said he stayed overnight on St. Martin on Tuesday and is going to St. Barts on Wednesday with the French health minister, who has warned about diseases spreading on the islands after water supplies, electricity and communication were knocked out for days. French media reports said Macron was sleeping on a camp cot in the police station.

After spending hours meeting with residents of the French side of the shared French-Dutch island of St. Martin on Tuesday, Macron promised to compensate those who have lost homes and livelihoods and to rebuild the island as a "model" of sustainability and durability with a more diversified economy.

2:10 a.m.

France's president is promising to rebuild stronger Caribbean territories after Hurricane Irma destroyed much of St. Martin and St. Barts.

In a visit to the affected islands, French President Emmanuel Macron acknowledged anger over the government's response to the disaster.

He brought in much-needed food, water and medical supplies Tuesday and said officials were working to evacuate those who wanted to leave and set up much-needed services for those who choose to stay.

He said France was bringing in air-conditioned tents so children can start classes again soon, and he said a center would be established by Monday to begin processing requests for financial help.

Macron pledged to rebuild St. Martin as a "model" for withstanding future storms.

1:45 a.m.

Florida residents are drifting back from shelters and far-away havens to see Hurricane Irma's scattershot destruction.

Flooded streets remained Tuesday, and the count of damaged and totaled homes ticked upward even as some curfews were lifted, flights resumed and amusement park rides again twirled.

Crews were working to repair the lone highway connecting the Keys. Residents of some of the islands closest to Florida's mainland were allowed to return and get their first look at the devastation two days after Irma roared in with 130 mph (209 kph) winds.

Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Brock Long says preliminary estimates suggested about 25 percent of the homes in the Keys were destroyed and 65 percent sustained major damage.

TUESDAY

8:45 p.m.

Three people are dead from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning at a Florida home following Hurricane Irma, and others have been hospitalized.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office said a deputy responded to the Orlando home Tuesday evening following a 911 call from what sounded like a juvenile. The deputy was overcome by fumes while approaching the home and called for fire rescue.

Firefighters pulled multiple people from the home, three of whom died at the scene. Others were taken to a nearby hospital in various conditions.

Rescue workers found a portable gasoline generator running inside the home.

The victims were a multi-generational family.

8:20 p.m.

Authorities say a Mississippi man died in a crash at a Florida intersection where the traffic signals weren't working after Hurricane Irma.

The Ocala Star-Banner reports that the 59-year-old Coffeeville, Mississippi, man died early Tuesday when his pickup truck collided with a semitrailer in Marion County. The Florida Highway Patrol says Irma had knocked out the signals.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene. His name was not immediately released.

Officials say intersections with broken traffic signals should be treated as four-way stops.

8:20 p.m.

The cost of Hurricane Irma to Florida is at nearly $250 million.

During a Tuesday briefing, 31 state agencies have reported spending $249,815,222 on preparations and recovery efforts. The final costs could well surpass what the state spent for Hurricane Matthew last year ($268,498,784).

7:45 p.m.

Florida officials say crews are restoring power across the state, but 9.5 million people remain without electricity.

State Emergency Management Center officials say they restored power to 1.7 million homes and businesses on Tuesday.

Of the three South Florida counties that were hit the hardest, Palm Beach is the only one where more than half have power.

7:45 p.m.

A South Florida couple managed to make it through Hurricane Irma without major damage to their home, but a kitchen fire that broke out after power was restored gutted the town house.

Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles says the man and woman from Deerfield Beach still didn't have power when they decided to go for a swim Tuesday afternoon. But the power apparently returned while they were out, causing the stove to turn on and set fire to objects on the cooking surface.

Jachles says it wasn't clear whether the stove had been left on before the power went out or had been accidentally turned on while the power was off.

7:45 p.m.

South Florida kids could be back at school next week after having more than a week off because of Hurricane Irma.

School officials in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties all tweeted on Tuesday that they were preparing to resume classes next Monday. Broward County officials said it would depend on whether power had been restored.

Many school districts around Florida canceled classes last week in anticipation of Irma making landfall Sunday.

7 p.m.

Miami police officers and firefighters are evacuating residents who live near a crane that collapsed in Hurricane Irma.

A city of Miami news release says evacuations were ordered Tuesday for two buildings across the street from the Gran Paraiso construction site north of downtown. The top of the crane was damaged during Sunday's storm but did not fall to the ground. Officials say it hasn't been secured since the storm.

Plaza Construction, the general contractor, has been notified that there are available hotel rooms in the areas for evacuees.

7 p.m.

Authorities suspect a Miami man died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator running inside his home.

Miami-Dade Police Department Officer Robin Pinkard said Tuesday that a neighbor discovered 65-year-old David Boatswain in his home Monday morning after he didn't answer his phone. A medical examiner is investigating, but emergency responders said the home tested positive for carbon monoxide.

The fatality brings Florida's death toll to 13, and the total death toll in all areas affected by the storm to 56.

7 p.m.

Several Royal Caribbean International cruise ships have been doing storm relief duty.

Company spokeswoman Celia de la Llama says the ship Adventure of the Seas arrived in St. Maarten on Sunday, picked up 300 visitors from various countries who had been trying to leave after Hurricane Irma hit, and dropped off provisions for residents.

Adventure was on a regular cruise from Puerto Rico but had room for the evacuees because of cancellations. The evacuees are being given the option to disembark at any of the regularly scheduled ports of call and head home from there or to continue on with the ship to Puerto Rico.

De la Llama says the ship Majesty of the Seas has picked up evacuees from the U.S. Virgin Island's St. Thomas and was scheduled to depart with them en route to Puerto Rico on Wednesday. The ship will pick up supplies in Puerto Rico, then head to St. Maarten to drop them off and load additional evacuees. The ship is scheduled to go back to San Juan on Friday to drop off the evacuees.

7 p.m.

Former NFL player and Jacksonville, Florida, native Tim Tebow visited workers at the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee, and thanked them for their efforts during Hurricane Irma.

Tebow visited with emergency workers on Tuesday. The day before, he accepted an invitation from Gov. Rick Scott to tour shelters in Duval County.

Tebow just completed his first season playing baseball for the New York Mets. Before that he played for the Denver Broncos and New York Jets. In 2008, he won the Heisman Trophy as the University of Florida's quarterback.

5:45 p.m.

Firefighters are evacuating a Miami-area building because of the lack of power and water, saying it's not safe for the elderly tenants who live there.

Those evacuated Tuesday afternoon from the building in the Miami suburb of Coral Gables included a 97-year-old woman who had to be carried down 12 flights of stairs in a special evacuation chair.

The building has been without power since Sunday.

5:15 p.m.

State officials are raising the number of deaths in Florida from Hurricane Irma to 12 from the previous seven. That brings the total death toll in all areas affected by the storm to 55.

McKinley Lewis is a spokesman for Florida Gov. Rick Scott. Lewis says six people died in car crashes, four while engaged in storm preparations, one was electrocuted by a downed power line, and another had a cardiac issue.

Officials have reported 37 deaths in the Caribbean, four deaths in South Carolina, and two deaths in Georgia.

5:10 p.m.

Carbon monoxide expelled by generators has killed one man each in South Carolina and Florida, and sent two to the hospital in Florida.

Miami-Dade Police Department Officer Robin Pinkard said Tuesday that a neighbor discovered 65-year-old David Boatswain in his home Monday morning after he didn't answer his phone. A medical examiner is investigating, but emergency responders said the home tested positive for carbon monoxide.

Sumter County, South Carolina, Coroner Robert Baker Jr. said 54-year-old William McBride was pronounced dead Tuesday after he was found lifeless at his mobile home, where a generator was running inside.

Polk County, Florida, spokesman Kevin Watler says fire rescue crews have treated patients in Lakeland and Lake Alfred for carbon monoxide poisoning.

He says that in both cases the people were running generators in an enclosed garage.

Watler says the most common dangers associated with generators are carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution.

4 p.m.

U.S. Virgin Islands Police Commissioner Delroy Richards is denying reports of violent crime in the territory after Hurricane Irma.

Richards says there have been no reports of serious crime associated with the storm or its aftermath. He said there have been some arrests for curfew violations on St. Thomas.

The police commission and Gov. Kenneth Mapp said in a statement Tuesday that reports of widespread looting on St. John and the theft of firearms are also untrue.

Police spokesman Glen Dratte said there have been four confirmed deaths on St. Thomas as a result of the storm but he could not provide details.

4 p.m.

Hurricane Irma has completely destroyed a trailer park in the Florida Keys community of Islamorada.

A visitor to Windley Key Condo Association saw mobile homes that had been ripped apart, with their rooms exposed.

The storm had scattered small and large debris around the park, including a hot tub, a 25-foot-long (8-meter-long) fishing boat, refrigerators, ice machines, washer-dryers, furniture of all types, a surfboard, and a hamster cage. The homes were covered in seaweed.

Four male residents who had ridden out the storm elsewhere returned to clear through the debris Tuesday. Shirtless and sweating, they hooked items by chain to a pickup to haul them out of the way. They said that it was the storm surge that had ripped open the homes.

When one resident who returned to check out the damage saw what was left of what had been his family's weekend home, he told his family to get back in the car and they drove away.

3:30 p.m.

Florida's emergency management director says officials are trying to get gas flowing to stations as quickly as possible.

Bryan Koon said on Tuesday that gas is available throughout the state and that the reopening of Port Everglades and the Port of Tampa Bay should also help get more supplies to stations.

A lot also depends on getting power back to gas stations as quickly as possible, especially in South Florida where a lot of areas are still without electricity.

3:30 p.m.

Officials at the main cruise-ship port in the Miami area have gotten the green light from the Coast Guard to allow ships to return after being stranded during Irma.

Port Everglades spokeswoman Alinda Montfort said the 3,000 passengers on Carnival Cruises' Carnival Conquest were the first to arrive Tuesday. Six-thousand passengers on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas were next in line, followed by 3,000 passengers on Carnival Cruises' Carnival Splendor.

 

Port Everglades is located in Broward County near Fort Lauderdale.

3 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump will visit hurricane-stricken Florida on Thursday.

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not announce the specific location or locations. Trump said earlier this week that he would visit the state "very soon."

About 10 million people — half of Florida's population — remained without electricity Tuesday, two days after Hurricane Irma roared across the length of the state.

Seven deaths in Florida have been blamed on Irma.

Trump visited Texas and Louisiana after Hurricane Harvey struck both states in late August.

2:15 p.m.

The United Nations says it is airlifting food to stricken islands devastated by Hurricane Irma in the eastern and western Caribbean.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the World Food Program is flying in 20 metric tons (22 tons) of high-energy biscuits, enough to feed nearly 17,000 people for three days. The biscuits are being sent from Haiti to a newly established hub in Antigua, where the population of Barbuda has been evacuated, and to nearby St. Martin.

He said this will be followed by "cash-based assistance" for 20,000 people on islands in the eastern Caribbean whose livelihoods have been ruined.

Dujarric told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York on Tuesday that the World Food Program is also launching an emergency operation in the western Caribbean islands, including the Turks and Caicos, which is serving as an operational hub.

He said 10 metric tons (11 tons) of high-energy biscuits are being airlifted to the Turks and Caicos to help 8,500 vulnerable people.

Dujarric said the U.N. is also airlifting other crucial items to the eastern and western Caribbean including mobile storage units, tarpaulins, prefabs, generators and other logistics and telecommunications support equipment.

He said the World Food Program has also offered to provide food and logistical assistance to Cuba.

2:15 p.m.

The storms' massive winds also knocked possibly thousands of baby squirrels out of their nests. By Tuesday, some animal rescue centers with squealing new patients, while other Floridians worked to save the tennis ball-sized fluff balls at home.

The Naples News Daily even posted a story about one found squealing on the trunk of an oak tree. The reporter tried to feed it and tucked it into a shoebox with rags in the tree branches.

"We've got close to 100 baby squirrels right now, and they just keep coming," said Dawn Marie Pangburn, who runs a rescue service in Longwood, Florida.

Pangburn, who said baby squirrels are often tossed to the ground during Florida storms, cautioned against trying to bottle feed them - a potentially fatal move.

She suggested warming them up, either on a soft blanket on a heating pad or "direct body heat, skin to skin." She feeds them with a syringe. The Irma rescues will be handfed for up to 22 weeks before she can return them to the wild.

2:15 p.m.

Georgia's governor has lifted a mandatory evacuation order for 540,000 people in six coastal counties.

Gov. Nathan Deal said Tuesday in a news release that he lifted the order after the Georgia Department of Transportation inspected 49 state bridges that were affected by Tropical Storm Irma. The governor said it is now up to local authorities to decide when the residents who live in their areas may return home and to provide appropriate guidance.

 

Deal says recovery could take awhile because damage occurred across the state, not just in coastal communities. More than 1.2 million Georgia Power and Electric Membership Corp. customers were without power Tuesday morning. The utility companies said they would continue to assess damage as power is restored. Alabama Power reported 20,000 outages mostly in eastern Alabama as the remnants of Irma toppled tree and power lines, but didn't cause major damage. The utilities said repairs could take several days.

1:50 p.m.

Authorities say Irma has caused a fourth death in South Carolina when a city worker drove off the road during heavy rains.

Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson says 48-year-old Arthur Strudwick died after a single-vehicle crash Monday night.

Columbia police said they believe weather was a factor. Police said it appears Strudwick lost control of his pickup truck and went off the road, striking a tree, during windy and rainy conditions.

Wilson says Strudwick was pronounced dead at a hospital. The worker for the forestry division of the city's Public Works Department had been on his way to help with a downed tree when he crashed.

Three other deaths in South Carolina have been attributed to the storm.

1:40 p.m.

An American Airlines flight was the first to arrive at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Tuesday morning after the airport was shut down for three days during Hurricane Irma and its aftermath.

The busy South Florida airport usually handles about 800 flights a day, but was handling about half as many Tuesday.

Airport spokesman Greg Meyer said the airport was ramping up its capacity.

About 2,800 flights have been cancelled since Thursday, including 356 on Tuesday.

Both runways were operational and were not damaged. But out of an abundance of caution the airport was only using the south runway because of standing water between the taxi and the runway on the north runway.

Airport staff, including TSA and vendors, arrived around 4 a.m. Many workers were diverted to customer service positions to help stranded passengers, including those who were stuck on cruise ships at sea.

1:15 p.m.

People on the Georgia coast are facing their second round of expensive storm repairs in less than a year thanks to Tropical Storm Irma.

When Irma arrived Monday, Joey Spalding of Tybee Island was still finishing flood damage repairs from when Hurricane Matthew hit last October. The new storm pushed 2 feet (0.6 meters) of water into Spalding's house at high tide. He waded into waist-deep floodwaters in the street.

Spalding says new drywall, insulation and flooring installed after Matthew is now ruined and needs to be replaced.

Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman says Irma caused worse flooding on the island than Matthew. He estimates roughly 200 homes got flooded by both storms. Storm surge and heavy rain from Irma caused flooding all along the Georgia coast.

1:00 p.m.

Gov. Roy Cooper said forestry crews equipped with chain saws and some National Guard soldiers are helping clear roads in parts of western North Carolina affected by the remnants of Hurricane Irma.

Cooper said Tuesday that the crews were working mostly in Buncombe, Jackson and Macon counties. Buncombe County includes Asheville.

The governor said the state had five emergency shelters open Monday night and they had about 80 people in them at midnight.

Cooper said two rescue teams have been sent to Florida to help with recovery there.

12:55 p.m.

A third death in South Carolina has been attributed to Hurricane Irma.

Sumter County Coroner Robert Baker Jr. says 54-year-old William McBride was pronounced dead Tuesday of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Baker says McBride had been running a generator inside his mobile home for at least several hours, with only a single window cracked for ventilation.

Baker says power was knocked out in some parts of the county at around 8:30 p.m. Monday.

Baker says McBride's sons found him Tuesday morning and called authorities.

12:45 p.m.

Emergency response aircraft have places to land in the Florida Keys.

Monroe County officials said Tuesday that airports in Key West and Marathon, as well as the Navy base in Key West, were operational -- but only emergency response flights were allowed.

Authorities were working to reopen three hospitals in the Keys. Mariners Hospital in Tavernier, in the Upper Keys, was found to have water damage that delayed reopening.

Three air ambulances that rode out the storm in Alabama will be returning to the Keys and begin flying for medical emergencies.

The county said two 300-foot stretches of road that were washed out by Irma at the 75 and 38 mile markers were expected to be repaired Tuesday.

Shelters are being opened where food and water would be distributed. The locations include at a Key West shopping plaza, a school near the point of landfall on Cudjoe Key, the high school in Marathon and along the Overseas Highway in the Florida Key Deer Refuge.

12:10 p.m.

Florida's largest utility says much of the state's east coast could have power back by Sunday, but other areas could take 10 days or more.

Rob Gould, vice president and chief communications officer for Florida Power & Light, said Tuesday that the utility expects to have power on for most customers along the state's eastern coast by the end of this weekend.

Gould said it would take until the end of Sept. 22 to restore power along the state's western coast where the damage was much more severe. He did say that some areas hit by tornadoes or flooding may take longer.

FPL says that 2.8 million homes and businesses are without power throughout its service area as of Tuesday.

Utility officials say they have nearly 20,000 workers helping with the restoration effort. FPL says it has gotten crews from as far away as Canada to California.

11:55 a.m.

A convoy of federal emergency management trucks was preparing to head to Florida from an Alabama staging area to help with Irma recovery.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has scheduled 180 trucks to depart Alabama for Florida on Tuesday. That's according to Richard Brewer, the director of external affairs for FEMA's Center for Domestic Preparedness.

FEMA had staged 930 tractor-trailer trucks at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery ahead of the storm's arrival.

FEMA maintains large stores of food, bottled water, medical supplies, cots and blankets that are pre-packed and strategically placed at locations throughout the United States. Those supplies were pre-staged on semi-trucks so they can be driven into the disaster zone after the storm passes.

11:35 a.m.

Beyond the luxurious mansions and beachfront resorts are thousands of Florida Keys residents living on the brink of poverty. Advocates say these are the people facing massive hurdles as hurricane clean up begins.

Stephanie Kaple runs the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition for the Homeless. She says many people who work in hotels and restaurants are already living paycheck to paycheck.

The string of tropical islands that stretch south from Florida, connected by bridges, are home to about 70,000 people, with about 13 percent living in poverty.

In addition to providing shelter and recovery service, Kaple said her organization helps prevent homelessness by paying emergency rent, air conditioner repairs and medical bills for community members in need.

She said that despite support from the United Way and Monroe County, those funds, post hurricane, will soon be running out.

11:30 a.m.

The remnants of Irma toppled trees and power lines in Alabama, leaving thousands without electricity, but didn't appear to cause major damage.

Alabama Power Co., the state's largest provider of electricity, reported that on Tuesday morning that 20,000 households and businesses were without power. The power outages were concentrated in the eastern portion of the state.

Irma, at tropical storm status, pelted the state with cold rain and wind gusts as high as 45 mph on Monday. Rains and wind began to dissipate on Tuesday.

Several school systems remained closed on Tuesday after official announced two days of closures ahead of the storm's approach.

11:25 a.m.

Miami Beach's mayor said hospitals, police and fire stations were getting power restored first.

But Mayor Philip Levine also said he sympathized with residents who lacked relief from the heat in the barrier island city across the water from downtown Miami.

Levine said in an emailed statement Tuesday that he would exert what pressure he could on Florida Power and Light to do repairs as fast as possible for residents.

Levine said: "I promise you that I will use the full force of my office to continue to put pressure on FPL to get our community's power restored so we can return to normalcy."

11:20 a.m.

The remnants of Hurricane Irma blew down trees and caused power outages in southeastern Tennessee, causing some school districts to close or delay classes.

Crews were out Tuesday morning clearing trees off some roadways, and a local electric company was working to restore power to homes. No injuries have been reported.

Meanwhile, officials in Nashville deactivated the city's emergency operations center around 1 a.m. Tuesday, about five hours after partially activating it.

The National Weather Service in Nashville called Irma's impact "underwhelming" and said while the next couple of days will be rainy and breezy, warmer temperatures are expected to return on Friday, when the high is projected to reach the mid-80s.

11:15 a.m.

Police across Florida are warning of scams in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Boynton Beach police spokeswoman Stephanie Slater said in a news release that two men posing as power company workers stole nearly $13,000 in jewelry from a 95-year-old woman.

Slater says the woman was sitting in her living room with the front door open Monday afternoon when the men walked in. They told the woman they were checking switches to restore power. She told police one man remained in the living room while she escorted the other man through the house, flipping light switches.

According to a police report, the men told the woman her power would come on shortly. She later discovered that her jewelry and some cash had been stolen.

Police say there is no reason for anyone with a power company to enter individual homes at this time. Any power company officials will be credentialed and most will be driving vehicles marked with company signage.

11:05 a.m.

South Carolina officials say a man was killed in a wreck on a wet and windy interstate as Irma moved past.

Public Safety Director Leroy Smith said 21-year-old Zhen Tain died in the crash on Interstate 77 east of Columbia around 3:15 p.m. Monday.

Troopers say Tain crashed into another car and his Ford Mustang flipped, trapping him inside. Authorities say the second driver was taken to the hospital. Her condition was not known.

Troopers say the wreck is still under investigation.

The National Weather Service says there was heavy rain in Columbia with wind gusts around 40 mph when the wreck happened.

Tain is the second person killed in South Carolina during Irma. Authorities say a man was hit by a falling limb while clearing debris near his home Monday afternoon in Calhoun Falls.

Smith says Tain was driving too fast for conditions losing control on the wet road, hitting the other vehicle before flipping over on its roof, trapping Tain inside.

10:50 a.m.

Florida's governor says that bridges linking the Florida Keys appeared to escape serious damage from Hurricane Irma, but more time is needed to finish inspections.

Gov. Rick Scott said Tuesday that officials continue to check the 42 Overseas Highway bridges that link the Florida Keys together. He said none appear seriously damaged but that "we're not sure that on the bridges we should be putting on significant weight."

Residents were allowed to return Tuesday to some islands in the Upper Keys. But there was a roadblock preventing people from accessing islands further away while repairs and inspections continue.

10:25 a.m.

NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida remains closed, but appears to have weathered Hurricane Irma well.

The same holds true at adjoining Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Inspection crews were out in full force Tuesday.

Power has been restored to NASA and Air Force facilities but water service is out. Until that's restored, Kennedy will stay closed to non-essential personnel.

Over at Kennedy's tourist area, life-size replicas of the space shuttle fuel tank and booster rockets were still standing outside the home of shuttle Atlantis. No major damage has been reported at the visitor complex.

Brigadier General Wayne Monteith, who's in charge of Air Force operations says, "We dodged another bullet." Last October, Hurricane Matthew stayed safely off shore. On Monday, Irma remained well to the west of Cape Canaveral.

9:55 a.m.

Officials in Miami Beach allowed residents to return to their homes Tuesday morning after Hurricane Irma pounded Florida with wind and rain.

A long line of cars amassed on Interstate 195 at 6:55 a.m. Tuesday, waiting for the road blocks to be taken down.

The entryways have been blocked since Sunday night so crews could remove numerous downed branches from main arteries and clear debris.

To re-enter the beach, residents must show a state ID or other proof of residency.

9:55 a.m.

The Public Prosecutor's office in Dutch St. Maarten says police and soldiers there have put an end to what it calls "large-scale robberies and looting" in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

The office released a statement saying it doesn't know how many people have been arrested but that some accused of minor offenses have been released and some have been assigned to help the Caribbean island clean up from the ravages of the storm.

The government only has enough space to detain only those accused of the most serious offenses.

The statement released Tuesday says authorities there have photos and videos of suspects involved in looting and robbery and will be working with the public to identify them in the coming days.

9 a.m.

Jacksonville sheriff's officials said on Twitter that 356 people were rescued from flooding on Monday as Hurricane Irma moved over Florida.

And they tweeted some advice for them: "We hope the 356 people who had their lives saved yesterday will take evacuation orders seriously in the future."

Sheriff's officials also said that all bridges leading into downtown Jacksonville have re-opened.

They noted that many roads are still blocked or flooded Tuesday morning and motorist are urged to treat intersections without working red lights as four-way stops.

9 a.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the government's "top priority" is to help the populations return to normal life in French Caribbean territories that have been hit by Hurricane Irma.

Macron said in a news conference in Pointe-a-Pitre airport, in Guadeloupe, that one of "the biggest air bridges since World War II" has been put in place to bring emergency aid and rescuers to St. Martin and St. Barts islands.

He added that about 1,900 police and troops are now on the ground to ensure security in St. Martin, one of the hardest-hit islands where 11 people were killed.

Macron said power was restored in about 50 percent of homes in St. Martin. He also hoped some schools will be able to open as soon as next week. All of the island's schools have been damaged or destroyed.

Macron is now heading to St. Martin to meet with residents. He'll then go to St. Barts.

9 a.m.

FEMA Administrator Brock Long says the Florida Keys "took the brunt of the hit" from Hurricane Irma and it will take time to survey the damage there before residents there can return.

In a news conference Tuesday, Long says of Monroe County: "A majority of the homes there have been impacted in some way" with homes destroyed or damaged.

Long says Irma damage is more complex than Hurricane Harvey, affecting the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Florida's Seminole Tribe, which relies on the federal government for disaster relief.

8:30 a.m.

Federal officials are warning of possible fuel shortages in the Southeast because of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Last week, the Homeland Security Department issued a week-long waiver on federal restrictions of foreign vessels so they could help distribute fuel. Officials noted this action should help, but urged patience.

Christopher Krebs, head of infrastructure protection for the Homeland Security Department, told reporters Tuesday that Harvey took a "significant amount" of the nation's refining capacity offline and affected distribution. "As a result," he said, "there may be some fuel supply shortages throughout the Southeast."

8:30 a.m.

Millions of people across Florida remain without power in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Florida's Division of Emergency Management reported Tuesday morning that more than 5 million customers didn't have electricity. That's more than half of the state.

The number of actual people affected is likely much higher since utilities are reporting the number of accounts affected by outages.

Some areas such as Collier County, the location of the storm's second landfall, report more that more than 90 percent of homes and businesses are without electricity.

7:55 a.m.

The mayor of Jacksonville says his city has the money it needs to begin rebuilding after Hurricane Irma.

Mayor Lenny Curry tells NBC's "Today" that his city is on firm financial ground. He says it can begin rebuilding as it works with the federal and state governments to secure additional funding.

Curry says he doesn't have an estimate for what it will cost to repair the damage.

In Washington, Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, says officials are keeping an eye on flooding in Jacksonville from the St. John River.

Long says authorities are still conducting "life-safety" missions in Jacksonville due to the severe flooding.

Mayor Curry says the flooding could take weeks to subside.

7:55 a.m.

Federal officials say their focus Tuesday in storm-ravaged Florida will be on deploying aircraft to survey the damage and orchestrate any needed rescues.

They're warning residents not to return home until local authorities declare their area safe.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke told reporters in Washington "our No. 1 concern today is with saving lives."

Duke says weather is cooperating, and the Defense Department and other federal agencies are contributing resources. She says: "We are working to get as many aircraft in the air as possible."

Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, says of Irma damage: "This is going to be a frustrating event" and it will likely be "some time" before people are allowed back into their homes.

7:55 a.m.

A 55-year-old Florida man died when the chain saw he was using to clear trees in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma became entangled in a branch, causing it to kick up and cut his carotid artery.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's spokeswoman Cristal Nunez said in a news release that Wilfredo Hernandez was clearing trees in Tampa on Monday afternoon when the accident occurred.

Nunez said deputies used a harness to lower the man from the tree, but he died at the scene.

7:35 a.m.

Officials in the upper Florida Keys are allowing residents and business owners to return after Hurricane Irma.

People were able to return to Monroe County as of 7 a.m. EDT Tuesday.

In a Facebook posting, Monroe County officials said a yellow re-entry sticker or proof of residency or business ownership will be required.

County officials said a roadblock will be put around mile marker 74, where part of U.S. 1 was washed out by Hurricane Irma, which slammed into the state Sunday as a Category 4 storm. A road crew is expected to begin repairs Tuesday.

Officials warned returning residents that there are limited services available. Most areas are still without power and water and cellphone service is limited. Most gas stations in the Key Largo area are still closed.

Crews are working to clear U.S. 1, the only road that runs north/south through the Florida Keys.

County officials also said Mariners Hospital in Tavernier was expected to reopen Tuesday morning.

7:35 a.m.

More than 1.2 million customers in Georgia are without power after Irma swirled into the state.

Georgia Power will be starting to assess damages on Tuesday. The utility company says much of the state including coastal Georgia and metro Atlanta experienced the most outages after parts of the state received widespread damage caused by high winds and heavy rainfall.

Georgia Power says Fulton County currently has the most outages with 105,390.

By early Tuesday, Georgia Power has nearly 800,000 outages and EMC has around 466,000 customers without power.

The Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority has resumed service Tuesday, but limited routes. The transportation company will have rail service running in 20-minute intervals.

7:35 a.m.

Tropical Storm Irma no longer exists but she left plenty of problems in South Carolina.

More than 220,000 customers were without electricity early Tuesday. Duke Energy reported the biggest problems with 100,000 customers without service. The biggest problems were in Anderson and Greenville counties.

The South Carolina Electric Cooperatives report that about 63,000 customers are without service. The biggest problems are in Oconee and Charleston counties.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. had 58,000 customers without service early Tuesday. The major problems were in Charleston and Beaufort counties.

Many schools in South Carolina are closed or opening on a delayed schedule Tuesday.

At least one person died. Fifty-seven-year-old Charles Saxon was killed Monday afternoon by a tree limb while clearing debris outside his home in Calhoun Falls.

7:15 a.m.

The 600 monkeys, birds and other animals at Miami's Jungle Island made it through Hurricane Irma just fine. But the park sustained a lot of tree damage.

The park's managing director Christopher Gould tells the Miami Herald the tree damage was worse than in Hurricane Andrew. "We have weeks of work ahead of us to overcome this type of damage," he said.

Gould said he's not sure when the park will reopen. He says workers are still estimating the damage.

After Hurricane Andrew, the park -- which was then called Parrot Jungle -- suffered nearly $5 million in damage and was closed for three weeks.

The animals rode out the storm secured in hurricane-proof enclosures. Gould says there were specialists on hand to help the animals deal with the stress. All of the animals were back in their habitats by Monday.

5:55 a.m.

The airport for Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has re-opened Tuesday morning after closing as Hurricane Irma pounded the state.

Operations at the airport resumed at 4 a.m. EDT, but a check of the airport's website Tuesday morning showed many flights still canceled.

Meanwhile, the Miami International Airport said in a tweet that it will resume operations on a limited basis Tuesday. But the airport said passengers should contact their airlines to check on flight status before coming.

Six deaths in Florida have been blamed on Irma, which first hit the state Sunday as a powerful Category 4 hurricane.

2:15 a.m.

Florida residents have begun to dig out in hurricane-scarred Florida and officials are slowly piecing together the scope of Irma's vicious path of destruction across the peninsula.

The fate of the Florida Keys, where Irma rumbled through with Category 4 muscle, remains largely a question mark. Communication and access were cut and authorities dangled only vague assessments of ruinous impact.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott called the storm "devastating" after emerging from a Monday fly-over of the Keys.

A Navy aircraft carrier was due to anchor off Key West to help in search-and-rescue efforts.

The governor described overturned mobile homes, washed-ashore boats and rampant flood damage.

Six deaths in Florida have been blamed on Irma, along with three in Georgia and one in South Carolina. At least 35 people were killed in the Caribbean.

MONDAY

10:40 p.m.

The National Hurricane Center says Irma has weakened into a tropical depression.

The storm, located about 5 miles (10 kilometers) west of Columbus, Georgia, is still bringing heavy rain to the U.S. Southeast on Monday night.

Irma is expected to drop 2 to 5 inches of rain across South Carolina and northern portions of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.

Irma's top sustained winds are 35 mph (55 kph), and it is moving northwest at 15 mph (24 kph).

The hurricane center has discontinued all storm surge and tropical storm warnings.

8:30 p.m.

Authorities say a Florida man appears to have been electrocuted by a downed power line following Irma.

Winter Park police spokesman Garvin McComie says officers responded Monday morning following reports of a man lying in the roadway.

The officers determined that 51-year-old Brian Buwalda was dead at the scene. A medical examiner will determine an official cause of death, but McComie says it appears to be an accident.

The storm has been blamed for more than 40 deaths, including six in Florida.

8:30 p.m.

A Florida woman was killed when her SUV crashed into a guardrail as Irma approached the state.

A Florida Highway Patrol report says 50-year-old Heidi Zehner was driving on state Route 417 near Orlando on Sunday evening when she lost control and crashed.

The crash occurred just a couple hours after Hurricane Irma made landfall 200 miles (320 kilometers) to the south in Marco Island.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.

7:30 p.m.

Tropical Storm Irma has claimed a third life in Georgia.

The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office says on its website that a woman died from injuries she suffered when a tree fell on a vehicle in a private driveway.

The sheriff's office says deputies and firefighters tried to rescue the woman, but she died from her injuries.

The sheriff's office said it was withholding the woman's name until her family and friends had been notified.

The storm is also being blamed for the death of a man in his 50s who died when a tree fell on his house just north of Atlanta and for the death of a 62-year-old man in rural southwest Georgia who had a heart attack after he climbed onto a shed Monday in a county where sustained winds exceeded 40 mph (65 kph).

7:30 p.m.

A boat that became a coastal South Carolina icon when Hurricane Hugo washed it 2 miles (3 kilometers) onshore has been relocated by Tropical Storm Irma.

Storm surge from Hugo in 1989 carried the boat to the edge of state Highway 171. It sat there undisturbed and unclaimed until Monday, and had become a billboard for everything from marriage proposals to graduation congratulations and other milestones. There was even a brief controversy this summer as Confederate flag supporters and people against the rebel banner kept painting over the boat.

On Monday, Irma's storm surge pushed the vessel a half-mile away to a dock in the marshes.

The boat was painted with a new message over the weekend: "Godspeed Florida. This too shall pass."

7:30 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump has declared that an emergency exists in Alabama due to the remnants of Hurricane Irma.

After battering Florida, Irma left the state as a tropical storm. It is forecast to cross into Alabama by Tuesday.

Trump's declaration directs that federal assistance be made available to supplement the state and local response to any emergency conditions arising from the storm.

7 p.m.

The Civil Protection agency in Haiti has confirmed the first death from the country's brush with Hurricane Irma as the storm passed through the Caribbean.

A Civil Protection report issued Monday says the man died in the town of Mirebalais in the central plateau region of the country. Agency spokesman Guillaume Albert Moleon says the man died while attempting to cross a rain-swollen river in the rural area. The man was identified as Manesse Andreval and his age was not available but the spokesman says he appeared to be elderly.

The overall death toll from Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean is now at least 35, including 10 in Cuba.

6:45 p.m.

A meteorologist says tropical storm-force winds were recorded at Atlanta's airport as the still-strong remnants of Irma lashed Georgia.

Keith Stellman with the National Weather Service says the airport on Monday experienced sustained winds of 45 mph (72 kph) with gusts up to 64 mph (103 kph).

The National Weather Service issued its first-ever tropical storm warning for Atlanta on Sunday.

Stellman said Atlanta previously experienced tropical storm-force winds in 1995 when Hurricane Opal slammed into the Florida panhandle, surged up through Alabama and hit Atlanta as a tropical storm. But the weather service didn't issue tropical storm warnings for inland counties at that time, which is why Sunday was the first time Atlanta had a tropical storm warning.

6:45 p.m.

Florida officials are urging residents who might still be stuck on the second floors of flooded homes to call for help.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said during a briefing Monday afternoon that people shouldn't be trying to ride out the flooding that has followed Irma.

"This is not a one-day event," Curry said. "This is probably a weeklong event. We're going to have to see on a day-to-day basis."

Curry says he hopes the city will move to recovery mode soon, but for now, they're still in rescue mode.

National Weather Service meteorologist Angie Enyedi says flooding appears to have reached its maximum levels, but it could take several days for waters to recede to their normal levels.

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams says they're still assessing damage to the beach bridges, and they'll let residents know when it's safe to return. He urged people not to line up at the bridges, because they'd only be blocking emergency vehicles.

6:45 p.m.

Officials in one Florida county say school principals had to take over running shelters when Red Cross staff members didn't show up following Hurricane Irma.

The Miami Herald quotes Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho as saying on Monday that the opening of dozens of shelters ahead of Irma in the county was chaotic partly because the Red Cross "didn't show up" to manage operations. Schools served as most of Miami-Dade County's 42 shelters.

Red Cross officials say Miami-Dade had only asked it to operate eight shelters for the 2017 storm season. The not-for-profit says it went beyond that commitment. After Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued evacuation orders for more than 600,000 residents, the Red Cross says it agreed at the last minute to open four more shelters and help the county operate seven others.

6:45 p.m.

Florida emergency management officials estimate nearly 13 million residents — two-thirds of the state's population — remain without power.

The updated number came during a briefing on Monday evening at the state's emergency management center in Tallahassee.

Nearly a third of the outages are in South Florida.

6 p.m.

Authorities are reporting the first death in South Carolina related to Tropical Storm Irma.

Abbeville County Coroner Ronnie Ashley said 57-year-old Charles Saxon was cleaning limbs and debris outside his home in Calhoun Falls around 3 p.m. Monday when a limb fell on him.

Ashely said in a news release that Saxon died at the scene. An autopsy has been ordered.

The National Weather Service says winds in the area were gusting to around 40 mph (65 kph) at the time Saxon was killed. Calhoun Falls is located 60 miles (95 kilometers) south of Greenville, South Carolina.

5:30 p.m.

Irma's eye has finally left Florida and exited the state as a weak tropical storm with 50-mph (85-kph) winds.

The National Hurricane Center says the storm's center is over southwestern Georgia, about 10 miles (15 kilometers) east of Albany. It is forecast to take a northwest turn Tuesday morning, moving into Alabama.

It is zipping north-northwest at 17 mph (28 kph) It is still a 415-mile (665-kilometers) wide storm.

Some, but not all, storm warnings in Florida have been discontinued, but storm surge is still expected along western Florida and from around Daytona Beach to South Carolina. South Carolina, Alabama and north central Georgia are expected to get 3 to 6 inches (7 to 15 centimeters) of rain with spots hitting 10 inches (25 centimeters). Northern Mississippi and southern Tennessee and parts of North Carolina are forecast to get 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) of rain.

5 p.m.

Officials say the 42-bridge roadway that connects the Florida Keys to each other and the mainland must be checked for safety before motorists can be allowed back onto the islands.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Monday that once officials are able to inspect, and to clear debris and sand from the Overseas Highway, it should be usable again.

5 p.m.

Officials are reporting a second death in Georgia related to Tropical Storm Irma.

Georgia Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Catherine Howden said the death was confirmed Monday in Sandy Springs, north of Atlanta. She said she had no further details.

The storm is also being blamed for the death of a 62-year-old man in rural southwest Georgia. Worth County sheriff's spokeswoman Kannetha Clem said the man use a ladder to climb onto a shed Monday morning as sustained winds in the county exceeded 40 mph (65 kph).

Clem says the man's wife called 911 saying he suffered a heart attack, and first responders found his body lodged between two beams on the shed's roof with debris on top of him.

The dead man's name was not immediately released.

4 p.m.

At least one of the Orlando, Florida, theme parks popular with tourists around the world has plans to reopen now that Hurricane Irma has moved out of the state.

Universal Orlando said Monday that all three of its parks will reopen at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Universal was closed down ahead of Irma.

Universal said its facility suffered relatively minor damage to fences, trees and building facades.

Disney World, Sea World and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay said Monday that they assessing damage and would announce their reopening plans later. All three theme parks said they never lost power. Sea World also said all of its animals are safe.

3:45 p.m.

As South Carolina's governor was issuing warnings about Tropical Storm Irma for the state's residents, the storm toppled a massive oak tree on an apartment building he owns.

Gov. Henry McMaster says the tree fell on a building he owns in Columbia around noon Monday.

McMaster says the college students living at the apartments are safe. The governor says "no one suspected it might fall," but the tree destroyed two apartments in the two-story building.

The Columbia Fire Department says the fallen tree has left up to eight people without a home, but no one was injured.

One displaced resident told WIS-TV the tree crashed through her apartment to the one below, taking furniture with it.

3:30 p.m.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says the Navy has deployed the USS Iwo Jima, USS New York and the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln to help with search and rescue and "a lot of other things" in the state.

Scott says he flew over the Keys and saw a lot of flood damage and boats that had washed ashore.

He says there is "devastation" and he hopes everyone who stayed behind survived Irma. He said almost every mobile home park in the Keys had overturned homes.

Scott also flew over the west coast of Florida on Monday and said the damage was not as bad as he thought it would be.

3:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump's homeland security adviser says Irma is still a dangerous storm despite being downgraded to a tropical depression.

Tom Bossert says while Irma's category of strength may have been reduced, its combined effects might replicate that of a more powerful storm. Irma was once rated at Category 5 storm, the most powerful on record.

Bossert notes that Jacksonville, Florida, is experiencing some of the worst flooding it has seen in 100 years.

He says Tennessee and Kentucky, both targets as Irma moves to the U.S. interior, could experience inland flooding.

Bossert says his message to the millions of Floridians who evacuated before the storm hit is not to rush back home because conditions are still dangerous.

3:20 p.m.

Georgia officials say at least one person has been killed by Tropical Storm Irma.

Georgia Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Catherine Howden said Monday that one storm-related death has been confirmed in Worth County, about 170 miles (270 kilometers) south of Atlanta. She had no further details.

The county is located in southwest Georgia, where Irma's center was churning northwestward toward Alabama on Monday afternoon. With tropical storm winds extending more than 400 miles (640 kilometers) from its center, Irma has caused damage across the state from trees falling on inland homes to flooding in neighborhoods on the Georgia coast.

The storm has also been blamed for one death in Florida. At least 36 people died in the storm's wake across the Caribbean.

3 p.m.

Communities along the Georgia coast are seeing extensive flooding from Tropical Storm Irma.

Irma's storm surge pushed water ashore at the high tide Monday afternoon, and heavy rainfall made the flooding even worse. On Tybee Island east of Savannah, Hollard Zellers saw waist-deep water in the street as he went to fetch a kayak.

About 3,000 people live on Tybee Island, which is Georgia's largest public beach. City manager Shawn Gillen said the waters seemed to be receding quickly, but most of the island appeared to have some level of flooding and water was in many homes.

Storm surge also sent floodwaters into downtown St. Marys just north of the Georgia-Florida line. St. Marys police Lt. Shannon Brock said piers and boat docks were heavily damaged and many boats sunk.

3 p.m.

A massive sinkhole opened up at the edge of an apartment building in Orange County, Florida, swallowing air-conditioning units and bushes and a concrete slab. The sinkhole destabilized the building so seriously that firefighters evacuated dozens of residents amid the hurricane's winds and pouring rain.

Ronnie Ufie heard a loud bang and her 6-year-old grandson saw sparks shoot up behind the building, then their power flickered out.

The fire alarm started screaming.

Ernest Almonor, who lives next door to Ufie, ran outside but saw no fire and went back inside.

But firefighters arrived and told them they had to leave the building. Ufie, who cares for her two young grandsons, grabbed some coloring books and crayons and headed through the rain for a neighbor's house.

But most residents, around 25 people, ended up scrambling through the storm to hunker for the night in the complex's clubhouse.

3 p.m.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander has flown to St. Maarten to see firsthand the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Irma on the tiny Caribbean territory and express gratitude to relief workers struggling to deliver aid and start the process of rebuilding shattered communities.

Images broadcast by Dutch news outlets showed the king, wearing sunglasses and a khaki shirt with the sleeves rolled up, touring the badly damaged Princess Juliana International Airport . The airport, named for his grandmother, has become a vital hub for flights bringing in relief supplies as well as a gathering point for tourists and residents waiting to leave the island in the aftermath of last week's devastating direct hit by Irma.

Later Monday, the king was scheduled to visit the hospital in the capital, Philipsburg, and a school that is being used as a coordination center for distributing aid. Willem-Alexander also was expected to meet police and troops who have been struggling to maintain order on St. Maarten, where widespread looting broke out after Irma had passed.

St. Maarten is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but has had broad autonomy since 2010.

After spending the night in St. Maarten, the king is flying Tuesday to two nearby Dutch islands, Saba and St. Eustatius, which also were hit by Irma, but suffered less damage.

2:30 p.m.

State and federal environmental regulators have issued a blanket waiver for Florida electricity companies to violate clean air and water standards for the next two weeks.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced the decision in a letter issued Monday as Hurricane Irma blew through the state. The agency said the so-called No Action Assurance granted through Sept. 26 will provide Florida utility generators needed flexibility to maintain and restore electricity supplies.

The assurance letter will allow utilities to operate outside restrictions mandated by their permits, including potentially using dirtier fuels, running for longer hours or electively bypassing pollution-control equipment.

The Associated Press reported last week that air pollution levels spiked in the Houston area after a similar enforcement waiver was granted to petrochemical facilities ahead of Hurricane Harvey.

2 p.m.

Tropical Storm Irma has now knocked out power to around 190,000 customers in South Carolina.

Most of the outages Monday afternoon were reported by the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina and South Carolina Electric and Gas.

Charleston County had about 60,000 power outages, while Beaufort County reported about 39,000 customers without electricity.

The rest of the outages are scattered across South Carolina as the winds from Irma spread across the state.

2 p.m.

Tropical Storm Irma continues to weaken, now down to 60 mph (95 kilometers per hour) and three more coastal warnings have been discontinued.

The storm is 50 miles (80 kilometers) south-southeast of Albany, Georgia, and is moving at 17 mph (28 kilometers per hour).

Forecasters expect it to become a tropical depression on Tuesday.

2 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash-flood emergency for Charleston as heavy rains begin to move into areas already flooding by ocean surge from Tropical Storm Irma.

Forecasters say the flooding from the ocean about a mile (1.6 kilometers) inland to Calhoun Street is becoming life-threatening. No injuries have been reported yet.

The ocean level reached nearly 10 feet (3 meters) Monday, 4 feet (1 meter) above normal and the third highest reading in the past 80 years, only behind Hurricane Hugo and a 1940 hurricane.

Authorities say with the rain it could be several hours before the water recedes.

Several tornado warnings have also been issued around Charleston, but no major damage has been reported.

2 p.m.

The mayor of a South Carolina beach town under mandatory evacuation orders says seven people have been rescued from rising floodwaters.

Edisto Beach Mayor Jane Darby says a family of four was rescued from their car about noon Monday from a curve near the beach's pier. She says the family had "decided all of a sudden" they needed to leave.

They are among an estimated 70 people still in the town of 530 people, despite Gov. Henry McMaster's evacuation order Friday night.

Darby says emergency officials also rescued three news media employees.

Darby says Edisto Beach is "under water," with power lines and trees down. He says the town has suspended all emergency calls because "it's too dangerous."

2 p.m.

As the remnants of Hurricane Irma move out of Florida, work is underway to resupply the state with gasoline. Hurricane Irma caused a huge spike in gasoline demand as residents evacuated, topped of their tanks, and/or filled gas cans to power generators. This led to outages at various gas stations throughout Florida and neighboring states, and it could take a week for supply conditions to return to normal.

Suppliers face an uphill battle in the coming days, trying to keep gas stations supplied, as Florida evacuees return home in large numbers after the storm. Gas stations not located along major highways should have an easier time keeping supplies, as residents are no longer "panic pumping", since the storm is no longer a threat. Refueling gas stations along major evacuation routes will be a top priority, as it was before the storm. Motorists are still likely to find long lines, which could lead to temporary outages, due to the surge in demand.

"Florida evacuees should plan their return home very carefully," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "First, ensure you know there are no major hazards at home or along your travel route. Expect congestion on the roadways, as the first few days after the storm will be the busiest. Pay close attention to traffic reports. Ensure you have a full tank of gas before you hit the road. Do not let your fuel gauge fall below a quarter tank before you start looking for a place to refuel. Bring a gas can in case you run out of fuel. It is not safe to drive with a full gas can inside an enclosed vehicle."

1:15 p.m.

The Navy is sending an aircraft carrier to Key West to provide emergency services.

An update from Monroe County describes "an astounding recovery effort" taking place in the Florida Keys.

The USS Lincoln aircraft carrier will be anchored off Key West to provide emergency services, and three other Navy vessels are en route.

Officials said the National Guard has arrived in the island chain, and state transportation officials have cleared six of 42 bridges as safe for travel. However, roads remain closed because of debris, and fuel is still a concern. There is no water, power or cell service in the Keys.

1:05 p.m.

Schools and businesses were closed across Alabama as Tropical Storm Irma moved inland.

The National Weather Service placed most of the eastern half of the state under a tropical storm warning. The remainder of the state was under a wind advisory.

The Alabama Emergency Management Agency said strong winds and gusts up to 50 mph were expected through early Tuesday.

The center of the storm was expected to cross from Florida into Georgia Monday afternoon.

Hotels across Alabama also filled up with evacuees from Florida.

The Alabama governor's office on Monday estimated that 250,000 evacuees made their way into the state. The Red Cross opened two shelters in the state, one in Montgomery and one in Baldwin County.

1:00 p.m.

Ocean water pushed onshore from Tropical Storm Irma is coming over the Battery in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.

Dozens of streets near the water in Charleston were flooded and water levels at the gauge downtown were 9.4 feet (2.9 meters) at high tide around 12:30 p.m. Monday.

That is nearly at the same level as Hurricane Matthew last October.

Forecasters say the ocean may rise a little more, but they don't expect a surge anywhere near the 12.5 feet (3.8 meters) recorded when Hurricane Hugo came ashore just north of Charleston in 1989.

Street flooding isn't unusual in Charleston, which also sees flooding during Nor'easters and other storms.

The next high tide is early Tuesday morning, when forecasters expect water levels from Irma to be much lower.

12:55 p.m.

In the Palm Beach County suburb of Riviera Beach, the line was about 25 people deep at a Marathon gas station's convenience store

It was one of the few in the area that had power by noon Monday.

The store's doors and windows had been smashed during the storm by would-be looters trying unsuccessfully to punch through the safety glass. Some people had already parked their cars at the station's pumps in case a tanker arrived to fill its empty storage tanks, while the customers inside were grabbing cold drinks, snacks and cigarettes.

Eric Truppy, a truck driver who had moved to the area 10 days ago from New Jersey, was carrying bags of cereal and protein drinks to his car. He said Irma's impact on the Palm Beach area was nothing compared to what happened in New Jersey after 2012's Hurricane Sandy.

"I didn't think it was that bad," Truppy said. "Sandy was worse, both for flooding and wind."

12:30 p.m.

More than 5.5 million homes and businesses are without power in multiple states as Tropical Storm Irma moves through the Southeast.

The vast majority were in Florida. Eric Silagy, the CEO of Florida Power & Light, said Irma caused the most widespread damage in the company's history. It affected all 35 counties in the utility's territory which is most of the state's Atlantic coast and the Gulf coast south of Tampa.

He said about 4 million homes and businesses were without power at noon Monday, affecting about 9 million people. The most extensive damage was likely in the Naples area, but a full assessment was ongoing. He said 19,500 electric workers have been deployed in the restoration effort.

Still, he said, it will take days for many people to be restored and, in some cases where the damage was extensive, weeks.

Meanwhile, Duke Energy reported Monday morning that more than 860,000 of the homes and businesses it serves in Florida were without power.

Georgia reported more than 570,000 homes and businesses without electricity, and there were 80,000 in South Carolina.

11:55 a.m.

A resident riding out Tropical Storm Irma on Georgia's largest public beach says some homes have been damaged but the destruction isn't as bad as he feared.

Chip Clayton was driving the roads Monday as Irma's winds and rainfall lashed Tybee Island, home to more than 3,000 people east of Savannah. Clayton said at least three homes had parts of their roofs or porches torn away and some roads were flooded. Ocean waters had begun washing away chunks of the protective dunes along the beach.

But Clayton said "for the most part, everything's fine. ...We thought it would be a lot worse."

Chatham County emergency management director Dennis Jones, whose area includes Savannah and Tybee Island, said Monday that Irma's impacts should ease up by Monday evening.

11:50 a.m.

Kelly McClenthen and boyfriend Daniel Harrison put on waders to enter her neighborhood in Bonita Springs after Irma, and they needed them.

About 5 feet of river water stood under her home, which is on stilts. The main living area was fine, she said, but everything on the ground level was destroyed. She said her washer and dryer were floating in her utility room.

The same area flooded during a storm about two weeks ago, Harrison said, and that cleanup was still a work in progress. Now they'll start over, but Harrison said they'll get through it.

11:40 a.m.

Jacksonville authorities are telling residents near the St. Johns river to leave quickly as floodwaters rise.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office warned people in evacuation zones A and B along the St. Johns River to "Get out NOW."

They say river is at historic flood levels and likely to get worse at high tide around 2 p.m.

On its Facebook page, the sheriff's office told those who need help evacuating to "put a white flag in front of your house. A t-shirt, anything white."

Rescue teams were ready to deploy.

11:35 a.m.

A Miami-area grocery store drew a crowd when it said it was reopening, but it disappointed a line of people it lacked key staples: bottled water and ice.

Workers at a Publix supermarket in Miami Lakes said the store would be opening Monday morning and that it would be "close to fully operational."

A line formed outside the store before its planned 10:30 a.m. opening. The delay in opening, officials said, was because of the time needed to get enough workers in place to run the store.

But when a manager came out and said there was no ice and no bottled water, 19 people standing in line left.

11:30 a.m.

A longtime resident of Florida's Marco Island said Hurricane Irma was the strongest storm he's seen in three decades of living there.

Rick Freedman and his wife rode the storm out the island where Hurricane Irma made its second landfall Sunday afternoon as a Category 3 storm. They were uninjured, but he said the damage around them was striking.

A couple doors down from his house, much of a neighbor's roof blew off. He said the island was covered with debris Monday morning.

He and his wife spent Sunday in a neighbor's house with sturdy concrete block construction, and that house suffered little damage. He said his own wood-frame house on stilts appears to have little if any interior damage, but the storm ripped off an exterior stairway to the front door and blew off some roof shingles.

At the storm's height he described "tremendously, tremendously powerful winds."

11:20 a.m.

Tropical Storm Irma is gradually losing its strength as it sloshes through northern Florida with the National Hurricane Center discontinuing four storm surge and tropical storm warnings.

Irma's maximum sustained winds were down to 65 mph (100 kph) as the storm was about 70 miles (115 km) east of Tallahassee late Monday morning. It's moving north northwest at 17 mph (28 kph).

Forecasters expect Irma's center to move into southwestern Georgia later Monday and then into Alabama Tuesday morning and eventually western Tennessee.

Northern Florida and southern Georgia should keep getting soaked, with rain totals eventually accumulating to 8 to 15 inches. Isolated parts of central Georgia, eastern Alabama and southern South Carolina may get up to 10 inches of rain.

10:55 a.m.

Officials say at least one tornado has been reported in coastal Georgia as strong winds and drenching rains from Tropical Storm Irma hammer the state.

Glynn County emergency officials had no immediate reports of tornado damage. They said in news release Monday that residents who didn't evacuate need to shelter in place. They said causeways linking St. Simons Island and Sea Island to the mainland are closed because of flooding, and other roads are flooded as well.

Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency for all of Georgia. Irma's center was forecast to cross the Georgia-Florida line Monday afternoon but tropical storm winds were extending more than 400 miles (640 kilometers).

The National Weather Service placed most of Georgia under a tropical storm warning.

10:20 a.m.

Tropical storm Irma is drenching the Georgia coast, and forecasters say flooding is a serious threat.

Downtown Savannah was getting soaked Monday morning, with winds just strong enough to rustle treetops and shake small branches onto the roads. Impacts from the storm were expected throughout the day.

The National Weather Service said the threat of storm surge had decreased Monday along Georgia's 100 miles (160 kilometers) of coast, but flooding rains could still cause swollen rivers, streams and creeks to overflow.

Irma was forecast to cross the Georgia-Florida line Monday afternoon. Though downgraded to a tropical storm, its winds reached up to 415 miles (668 kilometers) from the center.

Georgia Power said more than 125,000 customers were without powers across Georgia's six coastal counties.

10:00 a.m.

Firefighters on one of South Carolina's largest barrier islands are now staying inside until the worst weather from Tropical Storm Irma passes.

Hilton Head Island said on Twitter that it suspended emergency operations at 9 a.m. Monday until the winds and storm surge subside. They say they will only go on calls if a supervisor allows them because conditions are too dangerous.

The island of 42,000 people is under an evacuation order. Forecasters warn wind gusts around 60 mph (95 kph) and storm surge of up to 6 feet (2 meters) are possible later Monday.

Similar storm surge and winds gusts are possible up to coast to Charleston too.

9:45 a.m.

Actress Kristen Bell says she's "singing in a hurricane" while riding out Irma in Florida.

The "Frozen" star is in Orlando filming a movie and staying at a hotel at the Walt Disney World resort. She stopped by an Orlando middle school that was serving as a shelter and belted out songs from "Frozen."

Back at the hotel, Bell posted pictures on Instagram of her singing with one guest and dining with a group of seniors.

Bell also helped out the parents of "Frozen" co-star Josh Gad by securing them a room at the hotel.

Bell tells Sacramento, California, station KMAX-TV -- where her father is news director -- that the experience is her version of one of her favorite movies, "Singin' in the Rain."

9:30 a.m.

People are being rescued from flooded homes Monday morning south of Jacksonville, Florida, as Tropical Storm Irma pounds the state with rain and wind.

John Ward, the emergency operations manager of Clay County, says crews have pulled 46 people from flooded homes by early Monday and an undetermined number are still stranded as the area's creeks and ponds are getting record flooding.

Ward says between 400 and 500 homes received severe flood damage but there have been no serious injuries or deaths.

Irma weakened to a tropical storm Monday morning, a day after hitting the state as a powerful Category 4 hurricane.

9:05 a.m.

An Atlanta airport official says there've been around 800 cancellations due to the threat of Irma, which weakened to a tropical storm Monday morning.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport spokesman Andrew Gobeil says the airport will still be operational Monday and will monitor storm conditions.

Gobeil says the airport created an overflow parking plan to allow planes unable to land in areas such as Florida to park at the airport in Atlanta.

Also in Atlanta, the city's transit system has suspended all bus and rail service ahead of the weather conditions caused by Irma.

Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority spokesman Erik Burton says both systems will be closed for Monday. He says officials will continue to coordinate with state and local officials along with emergency personnel to determine MARTA's service schedule for Tuesday.

9:05 a.m.

Much of central Florida, including Orlando, suffered significant damage as Irma blew through Sunday night and into Monday morning.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said Monday morning that there's been widespread damage and significant power loss throughout the area.

Jacobs said approximately 300,000 residents in Orlando are without power. She also said 60 percent of the fire stations are operating on backup generators and dispatchers received 1,381 calls between Sunday at midnight and 5:45 a.m. Monday morning.

Residents are being asked to minimize usage such as flushing toilets, bathing, along with washing dishes and laundry.

8:30 a.m.

Irma is causing record-setting flooding in Jacksonville, Florida, as it moves over the state Monday on its way to southern Georgia.

The National Weather Service in Jacksonville says storm surge flooding exceeds the record set in 1965 during Hurricane Dora.

The city on Florida's northeastern Atlantic coast remains under a flash flood warning until 12:45 p.m. Monday.

Jacksonville Sheriff's officials warned residents not to drive through standing water, adding that in addition to flooding, there are trees and power lines down across the area.

Irma weakened to a tropical storm Monday morning, a day after hitting the state as a Category 4 hurricane.

8:30 a.m.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says there's damage across the state caused by Hurricane Irma and it's still too dangerous for residents to go outside or return from evacuation.

Scott said Monday on Fox News that he's concerned about flooding now unfolding in Jacksonville and the amount of damage in the Florida Keys. The governor will be flying out of Mobile, Alabama, on a U.S. Coast Guard plane down to the Keys where he plans to inspect the extent of the damage there.

Local officials in the Keys on Sunday warned of a humanitarian crisis due to Irma's winds and storm surge.

Scott asked Floridians to be patient and warned that roads are impassable and that there are downed power lines.

8:30 a.m.

Two children evacuated from Florida as Hurricane Irma approached have been killed in separate car crashes in Georgia.

News outlets report Woodstock police say 3-month-old Riley Hunt of Port St. Lucie, Florida, was struck by an SUV driven by a 17-year-old girl Saturday night and was later pronounced dead. DeKalb County police say an 11-year-old boy who was also traveling from Florida to Georgia was hit and killed by a car early Monday in Stone Mountain.

The identity of the boy hasn't been released, and the cause of the crash is currently unknown.

The Cherokee County Sheriff's Office says Hunt's mother, 28-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt, and 61-year-old Kathy Deming were also hit and are listed in critical condition. The incident remains under investigation. No charges had been filed.

8 a.m.

Irma has weakened to a tropical storm as it moves over Florida toward southern Georgia.

The storm's maximum sustained winds decreased Monday morning to near 70 mph (110 kph). The U.S. National Hurricane Center says it's expected to weaken to a tropical depression by Tuesday afternoon.

Irma is centered about 105 miles (170 kilometers) north-northwest of Tampa, Florida, and is moving north-northwest near 18 mph (30 kph).

Irma hit southern Florida on Sunday as a Category 4 hurricane, bringing roof-ripping winds, gushing floodwaters and widespread power outages.

7:45 a.m.

The National Guard and local fire rescue teams evacuated more than 120 flooding homes in Orange County, just outside Orlando, as Hurricane Irma moves over Florida.

Trees and power lines were down across town and floods cut off roads to a neighborhood.

As the sun rose in Orlando, many tried to go outside to survey the damage, but authorities warn that conditions remain dangerous and ask that people to abide by the curfew that lasts throughout most of the day.

7:45 a.m.

Winds and rain from Hurricane Irma have moved into South Carolina and officials are warning residents to be very careful throughout the day.

A hurricane watch is in effect Monday from Edisto Beach into Florida. A storm surge warning and a tropical storm warning are in effect from near Georgetown into Florida.

A flash flood warning is in effect along the southern coast of South Carolina, where more than 40,000 were ordered to evacuate barrier islands.

The storm surge could reach 6 feet (2 meters), especially from late morning to mid-afternoon. Up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain is also possible.

Wind gusts of up to 60 mph (97 kph) are expected along the South Carolina coast. Forecasters say tornadoes are also possible.

South Carolina Electric & Gas reported more than 13,000 customers without service Monday morning.

7:45 a.m.

The European Union says it has released 2 million euros ($2.4 million) to help the Caribbean islands hit hardest by Hurricane Irma.

EU's humanitarian aid commissioner, Christos Stylianides, announced the assistance Monday, saying the money will go to key sectors such as health, water and sanitation and waste management.

The EU has already been involved in the emergency relief effort, and Stylianides said the bloc stands ready to provide longer-term assistance as well. He called it "our moral duty to help those in need whose lives and homes are being destroyed or severely threatened."

7:10 a.m.

Nearly 4.5 million homes and businesses across Florida have lost power as Hurricane Irma moves over the state.

And utility officials say it will take weeks to restore electricity to everyone. Farther north, more than 100,000 are in the dark in Georgia.

Much of eastern Alabama and coastal South Carolina are under tropical storm warnings as Irma pummels Florida, weakening on its march northward.

The National Hurricane Center predicts the storm will cross Monday into southwest Georgia, where a hurricane warning was in effect for a large rural area including the cities of Albany and Valdosta.

Rain already is falling in parts of the state, including metro Atlanta, early Monday.

7 a.m.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says that while the city hasn't escaped Hurricane Irma's wrath, the situation isn't as bad as they had feared.

Speaking Monday morning on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Buckhorn said "What we thought was going to be a punch in the face was a glancing blow."

Buckhorn did say there are a lot of downed power lines and debris.

He said Tampa's officials have vehicles positioned "to be sure that when that surge comes in we can keep people out of the streets."

He said he expected power to be out for some sections of Tampa for at least a couple more days.

Hurricane Irma is getting weaker as it moves over the western Florida peninsula after hitting the state Sunday as a Category 4 storm.

6:45 a.m.

Police in Miami are investigating reports of people looting stores as Hurricane Irma hit the state.

On Sunday night, Miami police took two people into custody and detained two others.

Deputy Police Chief Luis Cabrera told the Miami Herald the officers went to the Shops at Midtown on Sunday afternoon as the winds of Hurricane Irma were at their strongest in South Florida. Cabrera says a group in a white truck hit multiple locations. Police have also received additional reports of looting in the city.

Police had issued a curfew Saturday night, partly to ward off looters by giving officers probable cause to stop anyone for being on the street during the storm.

Cabrera didn't have specific details about the looting incidents.

6:45 a.m.

The British government is defending its response to Hurricane Irma amid claims it has been slow to help its overseas territories devastated by the storm.

The British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and the Turks and Caicos islands were all pummeled by the hurricane last week, leaving thousands without electricity or shelter.

Opposition politicians have compared Britain's response unfavorably to that of France, which has sent more than 1,000 troops, police and emergency workers to St. Martin and St. Barts.

Britain has dispatched a navy ship and nearly 500 troops, including medics and engineers.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Monday that Britain had responded strongly to an "unprecedented catastrophe." He says the government will soon increase the 32 million pounds ($42 million) it's pledged to the relief effort.

6:30 a.m.

Police in Lakeland, Florida, say a family with small children was rescued from a car that was submerged in water as Hurricane Irma crossed the area.

Lakeland police said in a Facebook post that officers rescued the family of four early Monday as water reached the children's car seats. No one was injured and police were able to get the family back to their home.

"When you become a police officer you hope to make a difference in the lives of others," the Facebook post said. "Tonight, there is no doubt these officers made a difference."

Lakeland is between Tampa and Orlando, off of Interstate 4.

Hurricane Irma is getting weaker as it moves over the western Florida peninsula after hitting the state Sunday as a Category 4 storm.

6:30 a.m.

A Florida sheriff's sergeant and a paramedic were trapped in a sheriff's vehicle when a live power pole fell on the cruiser as they were returning from dropping off an elderly patient as Hurricane Irma moved over the state.

Polk County spokesman Kevin Watler said in a news release that Sgt. Chris Lynn and Polk County Fire Rescue paramedic James Tanner Schaill were trapped for about two hours late Sunday.

Crews from Lakeland Electric crews disconnected the lines around 1:15 a.m. Monday. Both men have returned to their jobs to continue assisting hurricane recovery efforts.

6:10 a.m.

More than 120 homes are being evacuated in Orange County, just outside Orlando, as floodwaters from Hurricane Irma started to pour in.

The Orange County Emergency Operations Center said early Monday that the fire department and the National Guard are going door-to-door using boats to ferry families to safety. No injuries have been reported. The rescued families are being taken a shelter for safety.

A few miles away, 30 others had to be evacuated when a 60-foot sinkhole opened up under an apartment building. No injuries were reported in that incident.

Hurricane Irma is getting weaker as it moves over the western Florida peninsula after hitting the state Sunday as a Category 4 storm.

5 a.m.

Hurricane Irma is getting weaker as it moves over the western Florida peninsula early Monday.

Irma hit Florida on Sunday as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, hammering much of the state with roof-ripping winds, gushing floodwaters and widespread power outages.

By Monday morning, Irma had weakened to a Category 1 hurricane with winds near 85 mph (135 kph). Additional weakening is forecast and Irma is expected to become a tropical storm over northern Florida or southern Georgia later in the day.

4:45 a.m.

Dutch search and rescue experts are heading to the shattered former colony of St. Maarten to support the humanitarian relief effort in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

A team of 59 urban search and rescue experts is flying Monday to the Dutch territory that's home to some 40,000 people, where 70 percent of homes were badly damaged last week by a direct hit from the Category 5 storm. Four people were killed and dozens injured.

The Dutch government also is sending extra troops to maintain order following widespread looting and robberies. The government says there are already nearly 400 extra troops in St. Maarten and that number will rise to some 550 over the next two days.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander is expected to visit the island Monday to show his support for local residents and the emergency services working to restore infrastructure and begin the process of reconstruction.

2 a.m.

Irma weakened to a Category 1 storm as the massive hurricane zeroed in on the Tampa Bay region early Monday after hammering much of Florida with roof-ripping winds, gushing floodwaters and widespread power outages.

The hurricane's maximum sustained winds weakened to 85 mph (135 kph) with additional weakening expected.

As of 2 a.m. EDT, the storm was centered about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Tampa and moving north-northwest near 15 mph (24 kph).

Irma continues its slog north along Florida's western coast having blazed a path of unknown destruction. With communication cut to some of the Florida Keys, where Irma made landfall Sunday, and rough conditions persisting across the peninsula, many are holding their breath for what daylight might reveal.

12:15 a.m.

The National Hurricane Center says the core of Irma is now nearing Tampa in an area south of Lakeland -- a community inland and to the east of the heavily populated Tampa Bay region.

A hurricane center update at midnight said Irma remained a Category 2 hurricane with top sustained winds of 100 mph (155 kph) and was located about 25 miles (35 kilometers) south of Lakeland.

The storm is moving north at 14 mph (22 kph).

Read Sunday updates here.

 

WKMG and the Associated Press