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Florida Deals With Irma's Aftermath as Flooding Rains Move North

John Duke wades through a flooded street to try to salvage his flooded car in the wake Hurricane Irma, Sept. 11, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla.
John Duke wades through a flooded street to try to salvage his flooded car in the wake Hurricane Irma, Sept. 11, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla.

More people in the U.S. state of Florida will get to see Tuesday the damage left by Hurricane Irma, while half of the state's population remains without power and roads in many areas are covered by flood waters or debris.

Monroe County was set to allow entry to people living in the uppermost part of the Florida Keys, while the rest of the island chain remains closed with damage to its main highway.Officials said inspections were complete on most of the 42 bridges that connect the many islands in the Keys, with those examined so far all deemed safe.

The Keys were the first part of Florida slammed by the powerful hurricane Sunday morning.The U.S. Navy has sent three ships to help with rescue and recovery efforts, which will include searches of damaged homes that may contain the remains of storm victims.

"My heart goes out to the people in the Keys," Florida Governor Rick Scott said Monday after flying over the islands. "There's devastation. ... I just hope everybody, you know, survived. It's horrible what we saw."

Scott said recovering from Irma will be a "long road" for the state.He told reporters 23,000 electrical utility workers from Florida and thousands more who came to help from other states were working to restore service, but that some people should be prepared to be without power for weeks.

Hurricane Irma has been blamed for at least five deaths in Florida, two in the state of Georgia and two in South Carolina.It killed at least 35 people as it tore through islands in the Caribbean last week.

Storm weakening; still bringing rain

The storm has weakened to a tropical depression, but was still dropping heavy rains in parts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky on Tuesday.

Jacksonville, Florida's largest city by population and the biggest city in the country by area, is dealing with its worst flooding since 1964.Mayor Lenny Curry had ordered more than 250,000 people to evacuate their homes and said Monday emergency crews were in "rescue mode."He warned the serious flooding could be a week-long event.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander flew to St. Maarten, the Netherlands' tiny Caribbean territory, and French President Emmanuel Macron is heading to his country's adjoining St. Martin territory. Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda said 95 percent of Barbuda's buildings were destroyed or severely damaged.

The State Department said Monday that U.S. embassies and consulates have reopened in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Bahamas, Barbados and Curaçao, although services were limited.

The power grid in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico was so badly damaged that repairs could take months, authorities on the island said. More than one million residents have no power.

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