FEMA: 25 percent of homes in Florida Keys may have been destroyed by Irma

Union Grove Baptist Church in Warner Robins, Georgia was badly damaged. (WGXA)

As many Floridians who evacuated their homes prior to Hurricane Irma begin to make the trek back, FEMA is warning that some Florida Keys residents will have nothing to return to.

The federal agency estimates 25 percent of Keys homes may have been destroyed by the storm. Another 65 percent are believed to have sustained serious damage.

Further north, millions of homes in the state are still without power, and utility officials say they aim to get electricity up and running for most of them by Sept. 22. Power outages are also widespread in Georgia and South Carolina.

The full extent of the storm’s destruction is not yet clear. Officials in South Carolina said at least four deaths there were related to the storm, and at least two deaths have been reported in Georgia as well. The death toll in Florida has reached seven people.

As Irma moves up toward Alabama and Mississippi, the National Weather Service has reclassified it as a post-tropical cyclone. The storm is expected to continue to weaken as it drifts through the Tennessee Valley, but it could still produce intense rainfall in some areas.

In Palm Beach County, Florida, residents attempting to return to their daily lives have encountered a growing gas shortage. One station that received 9,000 gallons of gasoline overnight was running low by noon Tuesday.

Airports in Florida have reopened, but passengers are still frequently encountering delays and cancellations.

On Tuesday night, more than a dozen networks plan to air a telethon to benefit victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Beyonce, Barbra Streisand, Oprah Winfrey, Drake, Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Timberlake are scheduled to participate.

President Donald Trump plans to visit Florida on Thursday, according to the White House.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Jose has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm as it slowly moves east over the Atlantic Ocean.

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