Hurricane Irma weakens; officials urge patience for evacuees eager to return home

Hurricane Irma finally weakened to just a big storm Monday night after it killed dozens of people, left residents and tourists without power and resources, and severely damaged homes and buildings throughout the islands.

Irma left several cities throughout the state flooded and nearly six million homes without power as it moved north up the state’s west coast towards Georgia, packing winds of 100 kilometers per hour (65 miles per hour). States of emergency are in effect in Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia and Florida.

Newly released satellite photos show the widespread destruction left by Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean islands over the weekend.

Still, Irma was producing very heavy rain across the Southeast, leading to flash floods and rapid rises in creeks, streams and rivers. The hurricane center said that significant river flooding would persist over the Florida peninsula for several days and that parts of Georgia, South Carolina and north-central Alabama remained vulnerable to flash floods.

Authorities are still assessing the damage to the Keys, Florida Governor Rick Scott said.

“I’m going with the Coast Guard down to see the Keys, I’ve heard that there is some significant damage in the Keys right where the eye of the storm hit. So we will find out,” he told NBC’s “Today” show Monday morning.

Irma is confirmed to have killed 10 people in the United States so far: four in the U.S. Virgin Islands, three in Puerto Rico, two in Georgia and one in Florida.

Authorities continued to warn of electrocution from downed power lines, sewage leeks, flooding and even snakes and alligators. They urged people to remain indoors.