Hurricane Irma didn’t play favorites when it came to sharing her wrath. From the Florida Keys to the Carolinas, the hurricane continued to destroy homes and lives, flooding some and burying others in several feet of sand.
Among the areas hardest hit were Tybee Island, Georgia; nearby Savannah, Georgia; and Charleston, S.C.
Irma holds the record for being the strongest Atlantic basin hurricane recorded outside of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.
Tybee Island is a small barrier island near Savannah that is known for its beautiful sandy beaches. An 18th century lighthouse has provided guidance to sailors for centuries and has been rebuilt following other storms. Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman said that the flooding from Irma was even worse than what residents experienced last year after being hit head-on by Hurricane Matthew, and many of the area’s 3,000 residents suffered flood damage. The storm surge levels reached almost 5 feet and swells were as high as 15 feet.
Approximately 800 flights were cancelled at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport, and nearly 1.5 million Georgia residents lost power during the height of the storm. Nearly 750,000 were still in the dark on Tuesday evening in Georgia and the Carolinas.
Savannah also experienced high winds and water eventually covered the cobblestones along River Street, an area lined with hotels, restaurants and shops that sits along the Savannah River. The ballroom at the Hyatt Regency had a foot of water in it after the river crested the bank.
Modeler KCC has estimated insured losses from Hurricane Irma at $18 billion for the U.S. and $7 billion for the Caribbean, but those numbers do not include crop losses or those covered by the National Flood Insurance Program. The majority of the losses are in Florida, followed by Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama, and include buildings, contents, business interruption and automobiles.
Here is a look at some of the damage sustained in Charleston, Tybee Island and Savannah:
Joey Spalding walks back to his truck down the street where he lives, Monday, Sept., 11, 2017, on Tybee Island, Ga. Spalding just finished repairing his house from nine inches of water after Hurricane Matthew passed the island last year. He said Tropical Storm Irma brought three feet of storm surge into his living room today. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Gene Miles mops under his raised sofa, Tuesday, Sept., 12, 2017, while cleaning up from Tropical Storm Irma on Tybee Island, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
John Yarbrough, the owner of Spanky's restaurant on Tybee Island, Ga., uses the light from his cellphone to read paperwork, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, after storm surge from Tropical Storm Irma knocked out power and flooded his restaurant Monday. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Tybee Island resident Joe Murphy wipes the sweat off his face while standing in knee deep water from Tropical Storm Irma outside his house, Monday, Sept., 11, 2017, on Tybee Island, Ga. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
A hotel security guard walks through a tunnel on historic River Street in Savannah, Ga., checking doors as Hurricane Irma starts to impact the area on Monday, Sept., 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
South Carolina law enforcement personnel patrol Palmetto Blvd. on four-wheelers since the road is covered in several feet of sand after Tropical Storm Irma hit Edisto Beach, S.C., Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Edisto Beach suffered the same fate last year with Hurricane Matthew. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Greg Smith with the South Carolina Department of Transportation waits to remove a car stuck in Palmetto Blvd., in Edisto Beach, S.C., Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, as the road is covered in several feet of sand after Tropical Storm Irma hit. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Greg Garner, in back, embraces neighbor Linda Nettles in front of his long-time family home that lost part of its roof after Tropical Storm Irma hit Sullivan's Island, S.C., Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. "Sort of didn't expect this," Garner said. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
A pedestrian walks down Point St. as the road is covered in several feet of sand and water after Tropical Storm Irma hit Edisto Beach, S.C., Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Owners should not start vehicles that had water above the floorboards or wet seats since that could cause more damage to the electrical system. Experts recommend opening the hood and checking the vehicle's air filter — if it's wet, don't start the car.
Lisa Miller, former Florida deputy insurance commissioner, also advised homeowners to beware of anyone who knocks on doors and offers a free roof, plumbing or other services. "If it's too good to be true, it likely is," she warned.