The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that Hurricane Irma has destroyed one-quarter of the homes in the Florida Keys.
Florida Governor Rick Scott said: "So many areas that you would never have thought have flooded, have flooded."
On Tuesday, federal officials announced that all houses in the Keys had experienced damage and millions of people remained without power. Approximately 6.5 million of the states 20.6 million population were given evacuation orders prior to Irma making landfall.
“Basically every house in the Keys was impacted in some way or another,” FEMA Administrator Brock Long said at a news conference. “This is why we ask people to leave.”
Over 350 people had to be rescued, according to Mayor Lenny Curry, following the catastrophic storm surge and tropical storm-strength winds that accompanied Hurricane Irma. And, though he lifted the evacuation order, Curry urged residents to exercise caution when navigating flooded roadways.
The cleanup, assessment and recovery processes have begun, as many residents and business owners are returning to the cities and towns. But, Monroe County officials are still urging people to stay away, posting to their Twitter page: “Fuel, water, power & medical super limited.”
The county – which is home to 79,000 people – has about 53,000 housing units, nearly all of which are in the Keys.
Gov. Scott said, in a release, that transportation authorities were inspecting the bridges' weight bearing capabilities.
Florida Keys Electric Cooperative said, “the backbone of our power system withstood Irma’s impact well.” A state tally late Tuesday showed more than 4.7 million outages about 45% of the electrical accounts, were still offline.
Search and rescue teams are moving through the worst affected areas with emergency supplies of food and water.
U.S. President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit on Thursday to view the damage caused by Irma.