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A look at the devastation left in Hurricane Irma's wake

Irma devastates Florida Keys
Hurricane Irma devastates the Florida Keys 03:20

The sun returned to parts of Florida Monday, revealing the devastation left by Hurricane Irma.

Downgraded to a tropical storm, Irma moved north into Georgia. It is blamed for at least two deaths there and at least five in Florida.

Nearly 7 million homes and businesses were without electricity Monday, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management, and the White House said it could take weeks before it is all restored.

Estimates of the Florida damage covered by insurance range from $20-40 billion. Here is a look at some areas in the state that faced Irma's wrath:

Key Largo

One of the hardest-hit places was the Florida Keys -- the chain of low-lying islands off the southern tip of the Sunshine State. Officials said there is no electricity, no running water and no working sewage system in parts south of Key Largo, CBS News' Elaine Quijano reports.

Hurricane Irma devastates the Florida Keys 03:20

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."

The National Guard was conducting a door to door search for survivors in the hardest-hit areas. Residents who left are blocked from returning, and a dusk-to-dawn curfew is in effect. 

Relief missions were also organizing, tasked to identify any possible victims.

Road crews went mile by mile trying to evaluate the roads and bridges. So far, half of the 42 bridges have been deemed safe. But the Department of Defense warned that with no power or water, the 10,000 people who stayed may be forced to evacuate.

Those who stayed, like Ira Concrete, ventured out to find loved ones.

"When we were walking out, a neighbor about a block up … he survived," Concrete told CBS News. "We talked to him on our way out."

A look at the damage from Hurricane Irma in the Florida Keys. CBS News

Florida Gov. Rick Scott took an aerial view of the damage and said recovery is a long way away.

"My heart goes out to the people in the Keys," Scott said. "There's devastation and I just hope everybody survived, it's horrible what I saw."

The USS Lincoln is sitting off the coast of Key West and two more should arrive Tuesday full of medical and relief supplies.


Jacksonville, Florida, was seeing the worst flooding in nearly a century, CBS News' correspondent Jericka Duncan reports. Downtown Jacksonville was walloped by floodwater Monday, and park monuments were swallowed because of record-breaking storm surge barreling in from St. Johns River.

Irma leaves Jacksonville with worst flooding in nearly a century 01:39

Duncan said that much of the city was without power. and that security alarms were blaring mid-afternoon. Officials said the situation is expected to get worse before it improves because of high tide.

Mayor Lenny Curry said people most at risk were told to leave Wednesday. However, more than 100 people were rescued from their homes Monday, in a two-hour period.

In St. Johns County, southeast of Jacksonville, several properties could not withstand the over 80 mph wind gusts.

Downed trees and power lines were also putting people like Donna Mount in danger.

Mount told Duncan that a tree fell early Monday morning. She described hearing "a loud bang" and couldn't believe the damage.

Meanwhile, officials warned residents in Jacksonville that floodwaters will rise and fall gradually, and urged them to take caution over the next several days.


On Florida's Gulf Coast, Naples "took a real hard hit," according to Mayor Bill Barnett. CBS News' Jonathan Vigliotti reports that Hurricane Irma turned the area into a sea of destruction -- plunging some neighborhoods under water after dropping nearly a foot of rain.

Naples hit hard by Irma, but not as hard as feared 02:14

Some areas were flooded by 6 feet of storm surge, although that was far less than the 12-18 feet that was predicted.

The winds -- gusting to more than 140 mph -- were so punishing that a gas station was twisted into a pile of metal.

Bob Utter, who spoke with Vigliotti, said his neighborhood took a beating.

"We're quite amazed at all the major trees that are down," Utter said. "We've been through a couple of hurricanes before, but nothing like this experience."

Almost all of Collier County's 300,000 residents were without power Monday evening. Downed trees and power lines barricaded streets and posed a threat to homeowners anxious to see what's left.

On Marco Island, cleanup has begun, but lack of electricity and water slowed the process.

Farther east, the farming community of Immokalee -- America's tomato capital -- has turned into a flood zone. Many residents there, like Deborah Estrada, are migrant farmers who feel they've been left on their own.

"Nobody is out here trying to help," Estrada said. "Water, anything, you know, they don't know if we need anything. Nobody is out here trying to help."

Most of Collier County has dried out. But just north, in Bonita Springs, that wasn't the case by Monday evening. Vigliotti said it was one of many neighborhoods under several feet of water and cut off by downed trees. It could take days for the water to recede.


Although Miami was nearly 100 miles from where Irma's eye made landfall, it, too, was damaged.  

Across Miami, Irma's power twisted street after street into debris fields 01:56

CBS News' Mark Strassmann reports that across the city, Irma's power twisted street after street into debris fields -- a landscape of mangled trees and downed power lines. The storm's 100 mph gusts battered Miami.

Dozens of boats sank, washed ashore, or were missing. 

Up to 5 feet of storm surge pushed onto Brickell Avenue, a downtown boulevard of high rise condos and banks. And while Brickell was drained Monday, it was still a mess.

A look at the inundated Brickell Avenue. CBS News

Almost 900,000 Miami-Dade homes and businesses were without power, Strassmann reported.

While Irma wasn't a direct hit in Miami, its glancing blow packed a wallop.

Matteheo Patris, who manages the News Café, began to clean up the South Beach landmark after Irma.

"It could have been way more worse than what we have today … we're very lucky," Patris said.

Ed Hudack is the police chief in Coral Gables, a city famed for its Mediterranean revival-style architecture. Eighty-five percent of homes and business have no power, Strassmann reported.

"We were concerned about what it was going to be," Hudack told Strassmann. "We really didn't know what to expect."

Chief Hudak said the storm has passed -- but not the danger.

"Our biggest concern now in the recovery, and I don't think a lot of people realize, is more people get injured after the storm, where they're getting their houses back together, when the power starts coming back on," Hudack said.

Here's a look at Old Cutler road on Friday, lined with stately oak trees, before Irma hit. And then you can see how Irma left it littered with trees Monday. CBS News

Meanwhile, bands of heavy rain from Irma were lashing Georgia and South Carolina, which was also hit by a strong storm surge.

The ocean tide reached nearly 10 feet -- one of the highest on record.

Downtown Charleston was flooded. The water was hip-deep in some sports and more flooding could be on the way overnight into Tuesday during high tide.

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