TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Local curfews were in place throughout the state, much of the Florida Keys remained closed and millions of people continued to lack electricity as cleanup work expected to reach into the billions of dollars began Monday in the wake of deadly Hurricane Irma.
While businesses slowly reopen, the state is dealing with widespread flooding, from storm surges of 4 to 8 feet along both coasts to flash flooding in Northeast Florida.
Gov. Rick Scott, who flew over hard-hit areas Monday, said damage along the Southwest coast, where Irma made a second landfall Sunday, included roofs off homes, boats tossed, flooding and sand across roads. But overall, he said the conditions appeared “not as bad as we thought the storm surge would do.”
However, he depicted the destruction in the Keys, which experienced the first landfall, as “horrible.”
“There is devastation, and I just hope everybody survived,” Scott said during an afternoon press conference at the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Miami in Opa-locka.
Scott viewed the damage while flying on a U.S. Coast Guard C-130 plane Monday morning.
“I know for our entire state, but especially the Keys, it's going to be a long road. There is a lot of damage,” Scott said. “I know everyone wants to get back to normal. I know everyone wants to get started, but you've got to be patient. We've got to get the first responders to the Keys. We've got to get water going again. We've got to get electricity going again. We've got to get sewers going again. It's going to take a lot of time.”
At least four deaths have been tied to the storm, including a Hardee County sheriff's deputy and a Florida Department of Corrections officer, who were involved in a car crash.