Death toll in Florida increases to 12 after Hurricane Irma

Overturned trailer homes are shown in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, in the Florida Keys. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

MIAMI (AP) – The Latest on Irma (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

State officials are raising the number of deaths in Florida from Hurricane Irma to 12 from the previous seven. That brings the total death toll in all areas affected by the storm to 55.

McKinley Lewis is a spokesman for Florida Gov. Rick Scott. Lewis says six people died in car crashes, four while engaged in storm preparations, one was electrocuted by a downed power line, and another had a cardiac issue.

Officials have reported 37 deaths in the Caribbean, four deaths in South Carolina, and two deaths in Georgia.

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5:10 p.m.

Carbon monoxide expelled by generators has killed one man in South Carolina and sent two people to the hospital in Florida.

Sumter County, South Carolina, Coroner Robert Baker Jr. says 54-year-old William McBride was pronounced dead Tuesday after he was found lifeless at his mobile home, where a generator was running inside.

Polk County, Florida, spokesman Kevin Watler says fire rescue crews have treated patients in Lakeland and Lake Alfred for carbon monoxide poisoning.

He says that in both cases the people were running generators in an enclosed garage.

Watler says the most common dangers associated with generators are carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution.

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4 p.m.

U.S. Virgin Islands Police Commissioner Delroy Richards is denying reports of violent crime in the territory after Hurricane Irma.

Richards says there have been no reports of serious crime associated with the storm or its aftermath. He said there have been some arrests for curfew violations on St. Thomas.

The police commission and Gov. Kenneth Mapp said in a statement Tuesday that reports of widespread looting on St. John and the theft of firearms are also untrue.

Police spokesman Glen Dratte said there have been four confirmed deaths on St. Thomas as a result of the storm but he could not provide details.

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4 p.m.

Hurricane Irma has completely destroyed a trailer park in the Florida Keys community of Islamorada.

A visitor saw mobile homes that had been ripped apart, with their rooms exposed.

The storm had scattered small and large debris around the park, including a hot tub, a 25-foot-long (8-meter-long) fishing boat, refrigerators, ice machines, washer-dryers, furniture of all types, a surfboard, and a hamster cage.

The air in the park Tuesday carried the stench of rotting vegetation and sewage.

When one resident who returned to check out the damage saw what was left of what had been his family’s weekend home, he told his family to get back in the car and they drove away.

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3:30 p.m.

Florida’s emergency management director says officials are trying to get gas flowing to stations as quickly as possible.

Bryan Koon said on Tuesday that gas is available throughout the state and that the reopening of Port Everglades and the Port of Tampa Bay should also help get more supplies to stations.

A lot also depends on getting power back to gas stations as quickly as possible, especially in South Florida where a lot of areas are still without electricity.

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3:30 p.m.

Officials at the main cruise-ship port in the Miami area have gotten the green light from the Coast Guard to allow ships to return after being stranded during Irma.

Port Everglades spokeswoman Alinda Montfort said the 3,000 passengers on Carnival Cruises’ Carnival Conquest were the first to arrive Tuesday. Six-thousand passengers on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas were next in line, followed by 3,000 passengers on Carnival Cruises’ Carnival Splendor.

Port Everglades is located in Broward County near Fort Lauderdale.

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3 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump will visit hurricane-stricken Florida on Thursday.

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not announce the specific location or locations. Trump said earlier this week that he would visit the state “very soon.”

About 10 million people – half of Florida’s population – remained without electricity Tuesday, two days after Hurricane Irma roared across the length of the state.

Seven deaths in Florida have been blamed on Irma.

Trump visited Texas and Louisiana after Hurricane Harvey struck both states in late August.

___ 2:15 p.m.

The United Nations says it is airlifting food to stricken islands devastated by Hurricane Irma in the eastern and western Caribbean.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the World Food Program is flying in 20 metric tons (22 tons) of high-energy biscuits, enough to feed nearly 17,000 people for three days. The biscuits are being sent from Haiti to a newly established hub in Antigua, where the population of Barbuda has been evacuated, and to nearby St. Martin.

He said this will be followed by “cash-based assistance” for 20,000 people on islands in the eastern Caribbean whose livelihoods have been ruined.

Dujarric told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York on Tuesday that the World Food Program is also launching an emergency operation in the western Caribbean islands, including the Turks and Caicos, which is serving as an operational hub.

He said 10 metric tons (11 tons) of high-energy biscuits are being airlifted to the Turks and Caicos to help 8,500 vulnerable people.

Dujarric said the U.N. is also airlifting other crucial items to the eastern and western Caribbean including mobile storage units, tarpaulins, prefabs, generators and other logistics and telecommunications support equipment.

He said the World Food Program has also offered to provide food and logistical assistance to Cuba.

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2:15 p.m.

The storms’ massive winds also knocked possibly thousands of baby squirrels out of their nests. By Tuesday, some animal rescue centers with squealing new patients, while other Floridians worked to save the tennis ball-sized fluff balls at home.

The Naples News Daily even posted a story about one found squealing on the trunk of an oak tree. The reporter tried to feed it and tucked it into a shoebox with rags in the tree branches.

“We’ve got close to 100 baby squirrels right now, and they just keep coming,” said Dawn Marie Pangburn, who runs a rescue service in Longwood, Florida.

Pangburn, who said baby squirrels are often tossed to the ground during Florida storms, cautioned against trying to bottle feed them – a potentially fatal move.

She suggested warming them up, either on a soft blanket on a heating pad or “direct body heat, skin to skin.” She feeds them with a syringe. The Irma rescues will be handfed for up to 22 weeks before she can return them to the wild.

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2:15 p.m.

Georgia’s governor has lifted a mandatory evacuation order for 540,000 people in six coastal counties.

Gov. Nathan Deal said Tuesday in a news release that he lifted the order after the Georgia Department of Transportation inspected 49 state bridges that were affected by Tropical Storm Irma. The governor said it is now up to local authorities to decide when the residents who live in their areas may return home and to provide appropriate guidance.

Deal says recovery could take awhile because damage occurred across the state, not just in coastal communities. More than 1.2 million Georgia Power and Electric Membership Corp. customers were without power Tuesday morning. The utility companies said they would continue to assess damage as power is restored. Alabama Power reported 20,000 outages mostly in eastern Alabama as the remnants of Irma toppled tree and power lines, but didn’t cause major damage. The utilities said repairs could take several days.

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1:50 p.m.

Authorities say Irma has caused a fourth death in South Carolina when a city worker drove off the road during heavy rains.

Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson says 48-year-old Arthur Strudwick died after a single-vehicle crash Monday night.

Columbia police said they believe weather was a factor. Police said it appears Strudwick lost control of his pickup truck and went off the road, striking a tree, during windy and rainy conditions.

Wilson says Strudwick was pronounced dead at a hospital. The worker for the forestry division of the city’s Public Works Department had been on his way to help with a downed tree when he crashed.

Three other deaths in South Carolina have been attributed to the storm.

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1:40 p.m.

An American Airlines flight was the first to arrive at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Tuesday morning after the airport was shut down for three days during Hurricane Irma and its aftermath.

The busy South Florida airport usually handles about 800 flights a day, but was handling about half as many Tuesday.

Airport spokesman Greg Meyer said the airport was ramping up its capacity.

About 2,800 flights have been cancelled since Thursday, including 356 on Tuesday.

Both runways were operational and were not damaged. But out of an abundance of caution the airport was only using the south runway because of standing water between the taxi and the runway on the north runway.

Airport staff, including TSA and vendors, arrived around 4 a.m. Many workers were diverted to customer service positions to help stranded passengers, including those who were stuck on cruise ships at sea.

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1:15 p.m.

People on the Georgia coast are facing their second round of expensive storm repairs in less than a year thanks to Tropical Storm Irma.

When Irma arrived Monday, Joey Spalding of Tybee Island was still finishing flood damage repairs from when Hurricane Matthew hit last October. The new storm pushed 2 feet (0.6 meters) of water into Spalding’s house at high tide. He waded into waist-deep floodwaters in the street.

Spalding says new drywall, insulation and flooring installed after Matthew is now ruined and needs to be replaced.

Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman says Irma caused worse flooding on the island than Matthew. He estimates roughly 200 homes got flooded by both storms. Storm surge and heavy rain from Irma caused flooding all along the Georgia coast.

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1:00 p.m.

Gov. Roy Cooper said forestry crews equipped with chain saws and some National Guard soldiers are helping clear roads in parts of western North Carolina affected by the remnants of Hurricane Irma.

Cooper said Tuesday that the crews were working mostly in Buncombe, Jackson and Macon counties. Buncombe County includes Asheville.

The governor said the state had five emergency shelters open Monday night and they had about 80 people in them at midnight.

Cooper said two rescue teams have been sent to Florida to help with recovery there.

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