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Aircraft Carrier Is Rushed to the Hurricane-Battered Keys

Aircraft Carrier Is Rushed to the Hurricane-Battered Keys

"Basically, every house in the Keys was impacted some way", FEMA administrator Brock Long said. The Upper Keys, including the communities of Key Largo, Tavernier and Islamodrada, were accessible, but the remainder of the 110-mile island chain, home to 79,000 people, remained closed as damage was assessed.

Florida's largest utility, Florida Power & Light, said western parts of the state might not have electricity restored before September 22.

While outages are typically reported in terms of a number of customers, a graphic displayed at the state Emergency Operations Center, as of 6:30 p.m., reported that 13 million individuals were estimated without power, with the worst outages in southwest Florida.

Off Florida's southern tip, authorities were stopping people to check documentation such as proof of residency or business ownership before allowing them back into the Upper Keys. The agency, though, said the pipeline bringing drinking water from the mainland "appears to be intact".

As Irma weakened into a tropical storm and finally left Florida on Monday after a run up the entire 400-mile length of the state, the full scale of its destruction was still unknown, in part because of cutoff communications and blocked roads.

"All of my family members made a decision to weather the storm", she said. Meantime Sanibel police were restricting traffic across the causeway.

"I just hope everyone survived", Gov. Rick Scott said. Each announced a limited schedule.

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Ten days after officially becoming a hurricane, Irma was downgraded early Tuesday to a post-tropical cyclone, or tropical depression.

In Miami-Dade, the highest gust Sunday was 99 miles per hour, said Ed Rappaport, acting director of the National Hurricane Center.

Overnight going into Monday, Tropical Storm conditions are likely for all areas with winds 40 miles per hour and gusts near 65 miles per hour. Nathan Deal told residents of the state to continue sheltering until the storm had officially passed through the state.

He described whiteout conditions, with howling winds that sucked dry the gulf side of the narrow island, where the tide is usually 8 feet deep.

A man was found dead in Winter Garden, Florida, after being electrocuted by a downed power line, local police said.

"Due to its recent more inland push, Irma's center is now forecast to remain over Florida and then move over the southeastern United States for the duration of its existence", the weather service said, predicting it would become a tropical depression over MS by Tuesday afternoon and dissipate over adding that it should dissipate over Tennessee on Wednesday.

KELLY: NPR's Camila Domonoske was in Fort Myers for all that pounding wind and rain, and she joins us now from the studios of member station WGCU.