Florida allows residents to return to portions of ravaged Keys


"Irma is moving toward the north-northwest near 18 miles per hour (30 km/h) and this motion is expected to continue through Tuesday", the NHC said in its 05:00am Eastern update.

Barbuda first felt the storm's power, as the Category 5 hurricane damaged 95 percent of buildings on the small island.

Footage of the islands showed homes torn apart by sustained winds of up to 130 miles per hour, which left the Keys without electricity, running water and cellphone service. It took power crews two hours to disconnect the electricity so the mane could escape the auto. He says he hopes everyone who stayed behind survived Irma.

Irma hit Florida on Sunday morning as a unsafe Category 4 storm, the second highest level on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.

Peek said while the hurricane didn't do as much damage as expected to that area, it still left city streets flooded and trees through homes."For the most part when we got to Naples, it was unbelievable it was nearly a ghost town".

In the Jacksonville area, close to the Georgia border, a storm surge brought some of the worst flooding seen there, with at least 46 people pulled from swamped homes. We have downed power lines all across the state.

As the storm weakens as it heads toward Georgia, outages have leveled off or even declined at other Florida utilities, while increasing in Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.

Next, Irma is to push into the Gulf states of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and north to Tennessee.

As a Category 5 storm, Irma cut across the northern coast of Cuba, where at least 10 people were killed, according to The Guardian.

The region has not been hit by a major hurricane since 1921. Irma is expected to weaken to a tropical depression by Tuesday afternoon.

In terms of preparing for the storm, Shelley Rossiter of industry body Florida Citrus Mutual pointed to a resource on the University of Florida website that outlines how to prepare citrus groves ahead of such an event.

The Beaches cities, St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra Beach also experienced flooded roads and high winds that damaged trees and some structures.