Irma Leaves Widespread Devastation, Flooding In Florida
TAMPA, Florida - Irma took its parting shot at Florida on Monday, triggering severe flooding in the state's northeastern corner, while authorities along the storm's 400-mile path struggled to rush aid to victims and take the full measure of the damage.
The monster hurricane that hit the Florida Keys on Sunday as a Category 4 was downgraded to a tropical storm as it finally pushed its way out of the state and into Georgia, where it caused more misery.
Irma flooded streets, spawned tornadoes, knocked out power to millions of people across the state and snapped massive construction cranes over the Miami skyline.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that Irma would continue moving over Georgia Monday night before reaching Alabama Tuesday morning.
Several people have lost their lives across southern Florida in vehicle accidents which may well be blamed on the storm once police have a chance to investigate. Authorities in Georgia said Monday that at least two people had died due to Irma. The storm left dozens more dead as it tore across the Caribbean.
Nearly 7 million people in the Southeast were warned to evacuate, including 6.4 million in Florida alone.
The National Hurricane Center says Irma has weakened into a tropical depression, according to its 11 p.m. ET advisory.
The storm, located about 5 miles 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, and it is moving northwest at 15 mph.
The hurricane center has discontinued all storm surge and tropical storm warnings.
On Monday, an aerial view of devastation -- the splintered homes and wind-tossed boats -- was only matched by the scene on the ground. In the Lower Key areas, just 10 miles east of Irma's landfall, the brute force of 130 mph winds and nearly 15 feet of storm surge easily destroyed Oceanside homes in Marathon and in Big Pine Key. Some homes were still smoldering from a fire that burned them to the ground.
Residents like Mike, a Marine reserve who was helping Houston recover from Harvey's floods, came back to find destruction at his home.
"I got the walls up … going to have to rebuild it," he told Qujano. "But hey, you live by the ocean … you got to take chances."
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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.