World

Weakened But Still Deadly Irma Pounds Southeast With Wind, Flooding


ATLANTA (CBSNewYork/AP) — Irma, now weakened to a tropical depression, pounded the Southeast Monday, killing at least three people in Georgia, flooding the coast, sending trees crashing onto homes and forcing the world’s busiest airport in Atlanta to cancel hundreds of flights.

Irma sent 4 feet of ocean water into downtown Charleston, South Carolina as the storm’s center passed 250 miles away. City officials urged residents to stay off the streets.

Communities along Georgia’s coast were swamped by storm surge and rainfall arriving at high tide Monday afternoon. On Tybee Island east of Savannah, City Manager Shawn Gillen said waters were receding quickly, but many of the 3,000 residents’ homes were flooded.

“I don’t think people who have lived here a long time have ever seen flooding this bad,” Gillen said.

The tidal surge sent damaged boats rushing more than three blocks onto downtown streets in St. Marys, just north of the Georgia-Florida state line, St. Marys Police Lt. Shannon Brock said.

At least 10 deaths in the Southeast are now blamed on Irma, including people hit by falling trees or tree limbs.

The body of a 62-year-old man who climbed a ladder behind his home was found under debris on the roof of his shed in southwest Georgia, where winds topped 40 mph, Worth County sheriff’s spokeswoman Kannetha Clem said. His wife had called 911 saying he’d had a heart attack.

“He was lodged between two beams and had a little bit of debris on top of him,” Clem said. “He was on the roof at the height of the storm.”

Another man, in his 50s, was killed just outside Atlanta when a tree fell on his house, Sandy Springs police Sgt. Sam Worsham said.

And a woman died when a tree fell on a vehicle in a private driveway, according to the website of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.

Charles Saxon, 57, became South Carolina’s first recorded death when he was struck by a tree limb while clearing debris outside his home in Calhoun Falls amid wind gusts of about 40 mph, according to a statement from Abbeville County Coroner Ronnie Ashley.

Meanwhile, neighbors helped rescue the stranded in Jacksonville, Florida. The town still grappling with storm surge and historic flooding.

Irma first made landfall Sunday in the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane with 130 mile per hour winds. It pounded the entire state in the 48 hours to follow.

Mobile homes in Big Pine Key are toppled over, some have had their roofs completely ripped off. In Coconut Grove, boats were tossed into docks, piled on top of one another.

Millions are also without electricity.

“Two-thirds of our homes are without power right now,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said. “We are trying to get fuel back into the state.”

There is help coming to areas ravaged by Irma. The first step is to clear debris and then to restore power. There are 160 PSEG Long Island crews heading to Florida Tuesday morning, joining the 17,000 utility crews who have volunteered from 30 states.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)





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