Hurricane Irma weakened into a still-dangerous tropical storm Monday as it pushed inland, triggering record flooding in Florida’s northeastern corner, while rescuers in its soggy, wind-battered wake mobilized to reach victims and learn the full extent of the damage.
The storm engulfed nearly the entire Florida peninsula, wreaking havoc from the state’s southernmost point up to the Georgia line, from the Atlantic coast to the Gulf side. It swamped homes, uprooted massive trees, flooded streets, cast boats ashore, snapped miles of power lines and toppled construction cranes.
The monster storm measured more than 400 miles wide, and its winds of up to 130 mph sucked the ocean water out of bays, swamped much of downtown Miami and toppled at least three constructions cranes — two over downtown Miami and one in Fort Lauderdale, according to the Associated Press.
More than 6.2 million homes and businesses remained without power, and 220,000 people huddled in shelters. Officials warned it could take weeks for electricity to be restored to everyone.
No deaths in Florida were immediately linked to the storm. At least 34 people were killed in the Caribbean as Irma ravaged a string of resort islands.
A tropical storm warning was issued for the first time ever in Atlanta, and school was canceled in communities around the state. More than 100,000 were without power in Georgia.