The Florida Keys were the hardest-hit area on the US mainland.In addition to rescue operations there, National Guard troops are also working to clear roads and runways in order to allow deliveries of life-saving supplies to the island chain where authorities have only allowed people to access the northernmost areas.
But residents and business owners from Key Largo, Tavernier and Islamorada near the mainland were allowed back for their first look.
Teams are still working to clear Highway 1, the road connecting most of the inhabited islands, and bridge inspections are continuing.
Corey Smith, a delivery driver who rode out the hurricane in Key Largo, said power was out on the island, there was very limited fuel and supermarkets were closed.
The EMA director for the county told Regan that there are about 10 locations where trees have blocked roads. "They cannot get Georgia Power or Flint Electric to you any quicker than anybody else can". The Keys, which largely emptied out ahead of the storm, will remain desolate until that water and power is restored.
Irma killed 43 people in the Caribbean and at least 11 in Florida, Georgia and SC.
But people are heading back despite the warnings. All three hospitals on the island chain were still closed.
The hurricane made USA landfall twice on Sunday, in the Florida Keys and at Marco Island.
In Antigua and Barbuda, Arthur Nibbs, minister of Barbuda Affairs who was on Barbuda when Irma hit, said it was the worst storm he'd ever seen.
A US aircraft carrier and other Navy ships have been sent to assist, according to the AP.
The NHC said late Monday afternoon that the storm is "expected to continue weakening as it meanders far northeast of the Bahamas for the next couple of days". County officials said crews are working to reopen the major USA 1 route as quickly as possible. In fact places like Jacksonville, Florida, a city that has a very scant history with hurricanes had a record storm surge downtown along the St. Johns River that caused massive and widespread flooding all over the north and south banks of the river. Stanley Williams, 59, was crushed Monday when a tree fell on his home in suburban Sandy Springs, said Mark Gilbeau, an investigator for the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office.