What is storm surge, and how does it happen?

What is storm surge, and how does it happen?

More Kentucky crews are making their way to Florida to help with restoration after Hurricane Irma. Storm surges also swamped some coastal areas in Georgia and SC.

Monroe County officials on Tuesday night were quick to counter FEMA estimates, saying no official estimates of percentages or dollar amounts of damages had been done.

Irma wreaked havoc over almost the entire Florida peninsula from the southernmost Keys to the Georgia line, from the Atlantic to the Gulf coasts.

Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm early Monday as it spun northward through Florida, but forecasters warned of hazardous storm surges and "some wind gusts to near hurricane force". But for the millions of people affected by Irma, it will take much longer to recover from what is predicted to be one of the costliest hurricanes in US history.

That has left more than 6 and a half million homes and businesses across the state without electricity, one of the biggest power outages in the country's history.

The storm is blamed for at least six deaths in Florida, three in Georgia and four in SC. The storm killed at least 55 people in total as of Tuesday. The Navy is sending an aircraft carrier to Key West to provide emergency services. Sixty five percent of the Florida power grid is down.

The Keys are linked by 42 bridges that have to be checked for safety before motorists can be allowed in, officials said. Roads are flooded or covered with debris, and the cleanup efforts will be massive. Irma remains a large storm, with tropical storm force winds extending outward an incredible 415 miles (665km) from the center of circulation. Evacuation flights were continuing on Monday. Delta Air Lines is scrapping 900 flights Monday, including many at its Atlanta hub. Anitere Flores said on Tuesday's conference call. A few other models put the storm on a more northward track closer to a North Carolina, Virginia or Maryland landfall late next week.

Irma devastated several Caribbean islands en route to Florida.

"HELP IS ON THE WAY", they promised on Facebook. If anything, it's weird that the USA hasn't more hurricanes in the past 10 years, as the Washington Post explains.

Both Florida senators got an aerial view of the Keys Monday, where the full extent of the damage still isn't known because some of the islands aren't easily accessible.

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