Sports

About 1.5 million without power in Irma's wake

About 1.5 million without power in Irma's wake

Eight elderly patients died on Wednesday after being left inside a stifling South Florida nursing home that lost power during Hurricane Irma, prompting a criminal investigation and adding a tragic new dimension to mounting loss of life from the storm.

"The biggest concern is folks. rush down and then realize they don't have a home they can live in and now they need a shelter", said Roman Gastesi, the Monroe County Administrator, on Friday.

Officials opened up US 1 on Saturday all the way south to Marathon for residents, business owners, disaster workers and supply trucks.

At 7 a.m. Sunday, the county plans to open up US 1 to those same groups all the way to Key West.

Traffic heading to a checkpoint to access the Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma on September 16 in Marathon, Florida.

Roads were being cleared and recovery centers are being set up in the area to help residents fill out FEMA, insurance and small business relief paperwork.

Standing in front of a produce cooler at a reopened Publix grocery store in Naples, Missy Sieber said the worst thing about not having electricity is not having air conditioning.

Officials had agonized over the decision to reopen the islands, knowing residents were desperate to assess the damage with their own eyes, yet anxious about harsh living conditions for those who choose return.

The Keys are still under a curfew from sunset to sunrise to prevent looting. They're also providing rebuilding funds and vouchers to residents there.

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Trump earlier met with federal and state leaders in Fort Myers, where he was brimming with enthusiasm for the state and federal response effort.

Officials in the Florida Keys are stepping up plans to let residents and business owners re-enter the area to check on their property.

Carruthers said it will be a while before the Florida Keys return to normalcy and the district's announcement that schools will re-open on September 25 will help that happen.

Hurricane Irma's march across Florida and the Southeast triggered one of the bigger blackouts in US history, plunging as many as 13 million people into the dark as the storm dragged down power lines and blew out transformers.

Almost 53,000 customers in Miami-Dade County are still without electricity as well. But dozens of schools in the district are still without power.

The company on Tuesday said it expected to have the lights back on by the end of the weekend for the Atlantic coast. In many South Florida counties, school has not been in session since September 6.

The uncertainty is putting additional stress on parents trying to return to work. Vendetta Craig searched frantically for her 87-year-old mother for 25 minutes.

In some southwest Florida districts, classes were postponed until September 25. "To our customers who are still waiting on power to be restored to them, I want you to know that we are working as fast as we can to get you and all other FPL customers back online", Eric Silagy, president and chief executive officer of FPL, said in a prepared statement.


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