Irma blamed for 6 deaths in Florida

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on Irma (all times local):

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.

Winter Park is in Orange County, just of Orlando.

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

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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.

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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).

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Monroe County spokeswoman Cammy Clark said in an email Monday afternoon that the Keys are still closed to residents and visitors as crews work to make the roads safe. Much of the Keys are still without power and water.

There are 35 trucks and 100 workers heading from Jacksonville to Key West to help restore power to Keys Energy, which services the Lower Keys.

All three of the Keys' hospitals are closed, including their emergency rooms, though emergency responders and medical personel have been allowed to enter the Keys. Trauma Star's three air ambulance helicopters are heading to the Keys from Alabama, where they rode out the storm.

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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.

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4 p.m.

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

The Walt Disney Co. said in a news release that its Disney World theme parks and Disney Springs will reopen on Tuesday and resume regular hours. Its two water parks, however, will not reopen until later in the week.

Universal Orlando said Monday that all three of its parks will reopen at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Universal said its facility suffered relatively minor damage to fences, trees and building facades.

Sea World and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay said Monday that they are assessing damage and would announce their reopening plans later. Sea World also said all of its animals are safe.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.



 
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