Irma's Staggering Toll: At Least 68 Dead, Billions In Damage From the Caribbean to the U.S.

Pam Wright
Published: September 13, 2017

Irma has finally relinquished its grip, but the storm that tore a massively destructive and deadly path from the small Caribbean island of Barbuda to Florida, South Carolina and Georgia continues to exact a staggering toll.

The storm is responsible for the deaths of least 68 people in the Caribbean and the Southeast, with 32 of those originating in battered Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

Wednesday the Polk County Sheriff's Office in Florida confirmed the latest fatality. They are investigating the death of a 7-year-old child that they believe had carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator. 

The the cost of the storm will be astronomical. 

On Tuesday, officials from 31 Florida agencies reported that they had already spent nearly $250 million on preparations and recovery efforts, the Associated Press reports. The final cost of the storm will take months, if not years, to determine. 

In an effort to help raise funds for hurricane victims, celebrities came in droves Tuesday for an hour-long "Hand to Hand" telethon that was broadcast on four networks and raised at least $44 million. 

"We're here to raise money, lift some spirits," said Jamie Foxx, standing with actor Leonardo DiCaprio. "When tough times hit, this is who we are. We're compassionate. We're unstoppable." 

Legendary artist Stevie Wonder performed “Lean On Me” with the Houston Gospel Choir and told the audience: “When love goes into action, it preferences no color of skin, no ethnicity, no religious beliefs, no sexual preferences and no political persuasions. It just loves.”

Here is the latest:

(MORE: Men Attempt Rescue of Manatees Trapped After Hurricane Irma Drains Bay)


• At least 26 have died as a result of the storm in Florida.

• Monroe County Emergency Management announced an additional eight deaths in Florida Wednesday. Two of the deaths occurred in Key West, and the other six occurred in other parts of the county. 

• On Wednesday, eight people died at nursing home in Hollywood after issues with an air conditioning system forced the evacuation of at least 100 from the home and an adjacent hospital. According to Local 10 News, Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said during a morning news conference that two people died at the facility and three more died at nearby Memorial Regional Hospital. Three more deaths were announced later in the day. 

• Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles announced that the U.S. 27 Bridge had to be shut down due to the Santa Fe River's rising water level. 

• With power out in many areas, recovery efforts have been hindered. Officials with Florida Power & Light said Tuesday they are prioritizing restoration efforts at schools, hospitals and other critical infrastructure, CNN reports.

• More than 3.9 million customers were without power in Florida as of Wednesday morning.

• President Trump will travel to the Naples area when he visits Florida tomorrow to survey storm damage

• Florida officials say all 42 bridges in the Keys are safe for vehicles. 

• Authorities say Irma may have had a role in creating a large sinkhole that opened up near a middle school in Apopka. People have been asked to stay away from the area. 

• Florida fruit growers and farmers fear the damage Irma wrought on the state's citrus, sugar cane and vegetable crops will be significant.

• Federal Emergency Management Administration head Brock Long said 25 percent of the homes in the Keys was destroyed. Another 65 percent suffered major damage.

• Residents were allowed to return to the Upper Keys, including Key Largo, Tavernier and Islamorada, on Tuesday. 

• The Navy deployed the USS Iwo Jima, USS New York and the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln to help with search and rescue as damage that has been called a looming "humanitarian crisis" continues to be assessed.

• Scott flew over the Keys Monday and said he witnessed "devastation."

• Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay has declared an indefinite dusk-to-dawn curfew.

Floodwaters surround Gilbert's Resort in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, in Key Largo, Fla.
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

• The storm knocked out power throughout the Keys and damaged some of the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority’s transmission lines, which may cripple the flow of fresh water to the island chain.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry called the storm a disaster “of the magnitude we have not seen in 150 years,” the Florida Times-Union reports. 

• Naples Mayor Bill Barnett said Tuesday the city completed its initial damage assessment, and officials estimate it suffered $100 million in damage. 

• The storm caused extensive damage to Lakeland's tree canopy. An estimated 80 percent of the city's traffic lights were not functioning as of Tuesday morning, the city announced. 

(MORE: The Latest in the Keys)

• Miami-Dade and Broward public schools will remain closed until further notice due to recovery efforts.


• At least three people died in Georgia, including a woman who died in Forsyth County Monday after a tree collapsed on top of her vehicle.

• Georgia Power announced Wednesday that it expects to have service restored to 95 percent of customers still without power by Sunday night. As of Wednesday morning, that total was 360,000.

• Gov. Nathan Deal urged the state’s residents and evacuees from Florida to stay put on Tuesday as crews work to remove debris and clear roads.

• A bridge in Savannah and one in Brunswick have been deemed impassible by state officials.

• More than 700,000 Georgia residents were without power Wednesday morning.

• Flooding has closed coastal Glynn County “until further notice.”

South Carolina

• At least four people have died in South Carolina as a result of the storm, including a Columbia city employee who was killed in a single-vehicle wreck while on the way to help with a downed tree. 

• Gov. Henry McMaster said Tuesday he did not order an evacuation of the city due to the number of routes out of the city. He added that he had to weigh the tourism economic impact of an evacuation. 

• More than 55,000 customers are without power statewide as of Wednesday morning.


• The situation remains dire in parts of the Caribbean with some residents running out of food and water as power outages linger. 

• In the U.S. Virgin Islands, FEMA and the U.S. military were helping to rescue people still blocked in their homes by debris, nearly a week after Irma devastated the islands, NBC News reports.

• French President Emmanuel Macron visited the country's overseas territories, including devastated St. Barts and St. Martin, this week amid reports of widespread looting. Macron vowed to restore order by deploying 2,000 security personnel to street patrols on the island and rebuild the islands, the AP reports. 

• British Prime Minister Theresa May told Parliament an additional $33 million would be spent on recovery efforts as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson oversaw early aid efforts in Anguilla.

• The Dutch Red Cross said more than 200 people were still listed as missing on St. Maarten, the Dutch side of St. Martin. 

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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