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Irma: Live updates

Search and rescue operations continue in Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irma. 

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Authorities worked to restore communication with the island residents and began work Monday on reopening the single highway that connects the islands to the mainland.

Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm Monday evening. By Tuesday, it was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone. At least 17 people have died in the contiguous U.S. 

Power is beginning to be restored in Florida and Georgia.

>>Minute-by-minute updates to this post have ceased. For the latest Hurricane Irma news: 

JACKSONVILLE - ActionNewsJax

ORLANDO-WFTV

PALM BEACH - Palm Beach Post

ATLANTA - WSBTV 

ATLANTA - AJC

6 scary, infectious illnesses you can catch from flood water 

Hurricanes can leave behind tons of damage, including flooding, but did you know treading through the wrong kind of water can cause illnesses and even death?

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Floodwaters and standing water are often contaminated, posing several risks, such as infectious diseases, chemical hazards and injuries.

Here are six sicknesses you should beware of in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma

Diarrheal diseases

Drinking or eating anything that has come in contact with floodwaters can lead to cryptosporidiosis, E. coli or giardiasis. While cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis are brought on by parasites, E. coli is caused by bacteria.

>> Related: Irma: Live updates

Symptoms from each include diarrhea, gas, nausea and vomiting. Cryptosporidiosis, however, can even be fatal for those with weakened immune systems, such as AIDS or cancer. 

Wound infections

Open wounds and rashes that are exposed to flood water can cause tetanus or Vibrio vulnificus. Tetanus is a bacterial infection, and it can enter the body through breaks in the skin like a cut.

Vibrio vulnificus, another bacteria, can be contracted the same way. Many people become infected by consuming undercooked shellfish or exposing an injury to brackish or salt water.

>> Related: First responder contracts deadly bacteria in Harvey floodwaters, ends up in ICU

Other illnesses 

People affected by flooded areas can also get trench foot. It occurs when your feet are wet for long periods of time. It can cause pain, swelling and numbness.

You should also be aware of chemical hazards from materials that may have spilled into the water. And be cautious of electrical hazards, since there are puddles that may be electrified due to fallen power lines.

Curious about other diseases you can catch. Take a look at the full list at CDC’s official website.

 

How to keep your kids entertained and your sanity when trapped at home by severe weather

When severe weather traps you inside your home with your children, whether in the aftermath of a hurricane or during less severe bad weather and power outages, there are things you can do to keep kids entertained while you keep your sanity.

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If you're home for the day, or a few days, here are a few things you can do to stay entertained without going crazy or running up your data plans.

If you still have power:

Do some family-friendly baking:

One way to keep kids occupied is with a slew of simple cooking tasks (cracking eggs, manning the mixing bowl) and the promise of sweets.

Cooking Light has a roundup of “kid-friendly desserts,” including gluten-free s'more bars, chewy caramel apple cookies and more. If you run through that list, the Food Network has another.

And not having kids is no reason not to bake in bad weather: for company, just sub in the closet available roommates, family, friends or pets. (This advice applies to the rest of the list.)

>> Related: Hurricane Irma: What to do about fallen trees and how to stop the danger

Check out these party games:

Jackbox's Drawful is a bizarre twist on Pictionary: players score points not just for drawing the best possible version of, say, "angry ants"; but also for getting other players to guess their answer for a given drawing instead of the correct one.

Drawful comes packaged as part of the Jackbox Party Pack and is available to buy and download here, and is compatible with the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Amazon Fire TV and others. All you need to play is a phone, tablet or controller. 

But if you're feeling more competitive and less artistic, consider QuizUp. Available for both iPhone and Android. This competitive trivia app pits two players against each other in seven rounds of questions in one of several hundred different categories, including pop culture and academia. And it's free. 

Get crafty:

Create a crafting area in your home. Fill it with crafting materials like tape, paper and boxes. When inspiration strikes your child, they can create fun things in their own “workshop.”

Without power:

Get clever:

When the house goes dark, kids’ imaginations light up. A trip to the bathroom with a flashlight can become an adventure, and reading stories by candlelight will stick with them more than just another movie night. 

Get ahead of a power outage:

Stock up on glow sticks. Kids can really have fun with these simple light sticks. Once you crack them, they provide a bright light for up to 12 hours and a dim light for as long as 36 hours. They come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colors, and can provide hours of fun for children.

>> Related: Hurricane Irma aftermath: Drone video shows St. Augustine damage

Build a fort:

Kids love building forts just for fun anyway. So if you find yourself in the dark without power, gather up pillows and blankets, and plan on moving some furniture around to help your little ones build the perfect fortress. You can even make it more like an adventure. Plan to snuggle in for the night, and maybe tell a few ghost stories, too.

After Irma: What’s OPEN and CLOSED

This list will be updated as information becomes available.

Schools

  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools will be closed all week.
  • Broward County Public Schools will be closed through Friday and hopes to reopen on Monday, pending the restoration of power.
  • Monroe County schools will be closed through at least Friday. Their reopening date has yet to be determined.
  • Palm Beach County School District will be closed until further notice.
  • Pembroke Pines Charter Schools will resume classes on Monday.
  • Archdiocese of Miami has announced all elementary and high schools in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties will be closed until further notice.
  • Belen Jesuit Preparatory School will be closed until further notice.
  • American Heritage School at the Plantation and Boca Delray campuses plan to reopen on Monday.
  • Miami Country Day School will resume on Monday.
  • Basilica School of St. Mary Star of the Sea in Key West will be closed through Monday.
  • Ransom Everglades School will reopen Monday. There will be no classes, activities or campus entry while the school is closed.
  • Scheck Hillel Community School will be opened to faculty and staff on Friday. School will resume for students on Monday. All after-school afternoon and evening programs through Friday have been cancelled.
  • Pine Crest Preparatory School’s Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale campuses will remain closed through Friday. School officials hope to reopen on Monday depending on power restoration.
  • Emergency Education Institute is closed until further notice.
  • Gulliver Schools will reopen on Monday. For more information, click here.
  • Rhema Word Christian Academy is closed until further notice.
  • St. Christopher’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Montessori School, Key Biscayne is closed until further notice.
  • Gladeview Christian School is closed until further notice.
  • The Cushman School in Miami will reopen Monday.

Colleges

  • Miami Dade College will remain closed until further notice. All special events scheduled for this period have been cancelled.
  • Florida International University cancelled all classes, including online classes until further notice. The Green Library opened Tuesday with valid FIU I.D. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • The University of Miami cancelled classes at their Coral Gables, Rosenstiel and Medical campuses until Monday. All other activities were also cancelled through that date.
  • The University of Miami Medical Campus is starting to resume normal operations. All employees should be prepared to return to campus as early as Wednesday, unless they have a personal emergency and have notified their supervisor. All courses, clerkships and rotations for students have been cancelled until Monday.
  • Saint Thomas University has cancelled classes through Friday and hope to resume normal scheduling on Monday. Faculty and staff can return to work at noon on Thursday.
  • Nova Southeastern University is working to reopen all campuses in Florida and Puerto Rico on Monday.
  • Barry University have suspended normal operations until further notice. Classes at all locations have been cancelled and will hopefully resume on Monday.
  • Broward College classes and normal business operations will be closed until further notice.
  • Carlos Albizu University is working to reopen on either Wednesday or Thursday.
  • Lynn University is closed until further notice.
  • West Coast University’s Miami Campus is closed until further notice.
  • Johnson & Wales University, has cancelled classes until Monday, Sept 18.
  • Florida Atlantic University has cancelled classes until Monday, Sept. 18. Jupiter and Boca Raton residential students can begin returning to their residence halls at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Essential personnel are to report to their respective campuses Monday and Tuesday. All FAU faculty and staff are to report for their normal schedules on Thursday.
  • Florida Polytechnic University has suspended classes. The university will remain closed until Tuesday morning, at the earliest.
  • Florida Memorial University will be closed until further notice.

Hospitals & Health Clinics

  • Broward Health Medical Center, Broward Health North, Broward Health Imperial Point and Broward Health Coral Springs resumed normal operations, Monday, Sept. 11. All other Broward Health facilities will reopen Tuesday.
  • The Nicklaus Children’s Hospital emergency department and trauma center is open, but the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital cancelled all minor procedures and elective surgeries through the duration of the storm. Surgeries scheduled for Thursday are on as scheduled. Both the hospital’s West Bird and Palm Beach Gardens urgent care centers will be open, Tuesday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Mercy Hospital has reopened. Family members of patients at Mercy Hospital can receive updates of transfer locations by calling 844-674-7431.
  • Community Health of South Florida Inc. will close all of its 11 health centers Thursday and Friday. The Doris Ison Health Center will remain open for walk-in, urgent care, crisis stabilization unit and pharmacy services.
  • All Jackson Health Systems hospitals and emergency rooms are open and operational. Jefferson Reaves, Sr. Health Center, North Dade Health Center, Prevention, Education & Treatment (PET) Center, and Rosie Lee Wesley Health Center will remain closed on Tuesday due to power outages.
  • Baptist Hospital, Doctors Hospital, Homestead Hospital, South Miami Hospital and West Kendall Baptist Hospital are open and operating on normal schedules at this time. Fishermen’s Community Hospital and Mariners Hospital are closed. Some Baptist Urgent Care Centers and Diagnostic Imaging Centers are closed. To find out which ones are open, click here.
  • Memorial Regional Hospital, Memorial Regional Hospital South, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Memorial Hospital Pembroke, Memorial Hospital West, Memorial Hospital Miramar are operational. All hospitals within Memorial Healthcare System remain open for emergency services. For more information about closures and cancellations, click here.
  • All three of the Keys’ hospitals are closed.
  • MD Now Urgent Care Centers is working to reopen their locations. For a list of open locations, click here.
  • Cleveland Clinic Florida’s 24-hour emergency department, located at 3100 Weston Road in Weston, will remain open before, during and after the storm.
  • Holy Cross Hospital has reopened some locations. For more information, click here.
  • UHealth is opening outpatient clinics on a limited basis to patients with acute illnesses, needing chemotherapy or radiation. All affected patients are being contacted.

Cities and Areas

  • The City of Miami Beach will reopen, Tuesday, at 8 a.m. All causeways onto the beach will be open so that residents can return home.
  • The City of Sunny Isles Beach will be allowed to go back to their home at noon.
  • All roads leading to Monroe County have been closed.

Government Buildings and Meetings

  • All state offices will be closed through Monday by order of Gov. Rick Scott
  • Monroe County closed all of its government offices until further notice.
  • Miami-Dade Courts and Clerk of Courts’ offices will be closed through Friday. Bond hearings are still taking place and start at 9 a.m. at the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building, located at 1351 NW 12th St.
  • Miami-Dade County offices will be closed through Monday Sept. 18. Essential employees are aiding the recovery. Others should contact their supervisors.
  • Broward County’s government offices, including Port Everglades administration offices, will be closed on Monday.
  • Broward Clerk of Courts’ office will be closed Wednesday. Thursday’s operations have yet to be determined.
  • Doral Government Center will be closed to the public until further notice.
  • Social Security offices in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties will be closed until further notice.
  • Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office will be closed through Monday.
  • All City of Miami Beach garages are now open for residents to park their cars during the storm. For a list, click here.
  • Miami Beach City Hall will reopen Wednesday.
  • Margate City Hall will be closed until further notice.
  • The Florida Department of Corrections cancelled weekend visitation at all institutions on Saturday and Sunday.
  • The Broward County Animal Shelter will open Wednesday for admissions. Adoption services will resume later in the week.
  • Broward County has reopened several library locations with limited services. For a list of open locations, click here.
  • City of North Miami administrative offices will be closed until further notice.
  • The North Miami Public Library will close until further notice.
  • City of Miramar Public Works & Utilities Residents Forums scheduled for Sept. 12 and Sep. 19 will be rescheduled.
  • Plantation City offices are closed until further notice.
  • Port Everglades will reopen pending Coast Guard approval.
  • Key Biscayne Village Offices and Community Center will be closed Tuesday.
  • Hallandale Beach City Hall will reopen on Tuesday.
  • Hialeah City facilities, programs, and events remain cancelled until further notice.
  • Pembroke Pines City Hall, Charles F. Dodge City Center, administrative buildings and the Carl Shechter Southwest Focal Point Community Center will resume normal operations on Wednesday.

Mail

  • U.S. Postal Service delivery and retail operations in South Florida, as well as drop shipment acceptance, have been suspended until further notice. Post offices within the 3-digit zip codes of 330, 331, 332, 333, 334, 340 and 349 are suspending retail operations. For more information, call 1-800-ASK-USPS (274-8777).

Beaches

  • Ocean Rescue lifeguards will be protecting Fort Lauderdale Beach beginning Tuesday
  • Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier is closed to the public until further notice.
  • The City of Miami Beach will reopen, Tuesday, at 8 a.m. All causeways onto the beach will be open so that residents can return home.

Malls, Shopping Centers and Supermarkets

  • Sawgrass Mills Mall will be reopen Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • Miami International Mall will reopen on Tuesday at 10 a.m.
  • Dadeland Mall will reopen on Tuesday at 10 a.m.
  • Shops at Merrick Park will reopen Tuesday at noon.
  • Southland Mall will be closed until further notice.
  • The Falls will reopen, Tuesday at noon until 5 p.m.
  • Due to Hurricane Irma’s impact on Florida, some Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club facilities will close or adjust hours of operation. For more information, click here.
  • Aventura Mall will reopen Tuesday morning, and will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Miami-Dade County is working with food stores to bring them back online as quickly as possible. County residents can search for open stores near them by clicking here.
  • Brickell City Centre will reopen on Wednesday.

Parks & Museums

  • Monroe County parks are closed until further notice.
  • Most Broward County parks will remain closed.
  • Big Cypress National Preserve is closed until further notice.
  • Biscayne National Park will be closed until further notice.
  • Pérez Art Museum Miami and Verde restaurant will be closed through Wednesday.
  • The City of Doral closed all parks until further notice.
  • Jungle Island took severe damage and will remain closed until further notice.
  • The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science has suspended operations until further notice.
  • The Falcon Batchelor Bird of Prey Center and Batchelor Wildlife Center in Coconut Grove is closed until further notice.
  • Miami Seaquarium is closed until further notice.
  • Zoo Miami will be closed until further notice.
  • Doral parks are closed until further notice.
  • Disney World plans to reopen Tuesday after cleaning up.

Events

  • The Miami International Auto Show has been postponed to an unknown future date after originally being set for Saturday.
  • The Miami Dolphins’ season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will not be played in Miami; will be moved to Nov 19.
  • The BSO Shred-a-Thon scheduled for Saturday at the Charles F. Dodge City Center has been cancelled.
  • Pembroke Pines Mayor Angelo Castillo’s HOA meeting scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. has been cancelled.
  • The Archdiocese of Miami’s celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Charity scheduled for Friday has been postponed.
  • The e-UNI’TEA Virtual Town Hall Meeting scheduled for Wednesday was cancelled.
  • Adrienne Arsht Center’s ArtsLaunch2017 was cancelled after originally being scheduled for Saturday.
  • The 9/11 Observance to have taken place on Monday at the Pembroke Pines Memorial Park has been cancelled.
  • The University of Miami’s football game scheduled for Saturday at Arkansas State has been cancelled.
  • The Paramore show scheduled for Friday at the Fillmore Miami Beach has been postponed until Dec. 6.
  • Performances of Disney on Ice scheduled for Thursday through Sunday at the BB&T Center have been cancelled. Tickets will be refunded.

Trash and Bulk Collection

  • The City of Pembroke Pines have resumed regular scheduled trash pick-up on Tuesday. Recycling has been suspended until Monday.
  • City of North Miami trash and bulk pick-up has been suspended until further notice.
  • City of Fort Lauderdale will resume limited residential solid waste trash collection on Tuesday. Crews will only pick up trash inside the black garbage cart. Other items will not be picked up. Recycling pick up is still suspended.
  • The City of Coral Springs’ solid waste collection will resume on Tuesday. Bulk and Recycling has been suspended until further notice.
  • Monroe County and the City of Key West waste collection has been suspended until further notice.
  • Miami-Dade County residential and commercial waste collection will resume on Tuesday. Recycling has been suspended until Sept. 18.
  • The City of Miami has suspended trash pickup until further notice. The Mini-Dump Facility located at 1290 NW 20th Street will re-open Tuesday at 7am only for City of Miami Residents. (Proof of residency required)
  • Regular trash collection will continue in Hallandale Beach on Tuesday.
  • Garbage pick-up in Miramar will resume on Tuesday. Bulk Pick-up and recycling has been suspended until further notice.
  • Normal garbage and recycling will resume collections for Broward Municipal Services District on Tuesday. Officials want residents to separate bulk waste from vegetable waste at the curb.
  • Miami Beach resident garbage pickup resumed Tuesday and will resume normal pickup days.
  • Trash collection in Wilton Manors resumed Tuesday morning.

Transit

  • Miami-Dade Transit:
    • Metrorail began limited service at noon on Tuesday. Full Metrorail service is expected to begin on Wednesday.
      • Those who left cars in Metrorail garages for protection during Irma are asked to remove them now.
    • Metrobus began limited service at noon on Tuesday with 16 routes. More route may be added. Full service is expected to begin Friday. To find the routes in service, call 311.
    • Metromover has been cancelled until further notice.
  • Broward County Transit will resume bus service on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. until further notice. Express service to and from Miami will also operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. TOPS/Paratransit service will also resume service and will operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. TOPS customers with pre-scheduled trips are asked to call 866-682-2258 to confirm their trip.
  • Doral trolley services have been suspended until further notice.
  • Tri-Rail has suspended services until further notice.
  • Mini Bus Service in Hallandale Beach will resume on Tuesday.
  • Miami Beach trolleys began normal operations Tuesday and will run until 10 p.m. The Metrobus will resume Wednesday

Travel

Sea

  • Port Everglades has resumed daytime operations.
  • PortMiami will open Tuesday, but will be closed to marine traffic at least until 4 p.m. For more information, click here.

Flights

  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport reopened at 4 a.m., Tuesday and is currently operating at about 50 percent capacity. Check with your airlines for any changes.
  • Miami International Airport has opened with a limited number of flights on Tuesday.
  • Miami Opa-locka Executive Airport is now open.
  • Miami Executive Airport is open, but the FAA tower is currently closed for damage assessment. Flights are operating with pilot-to-pilot communication.
  • Miami-Homestead General Aviation Airport is now open, but the Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport remains closed.
  • Key West International Airport, Florida Keys Marathon Airport and Naval Air Station Key West are all operational, but only for emergency response flights. The airports already have begun to receive emergency supplies and other emergency resources.

Ride-sharing services

  • Uber services have been suspended in the Keys as of Thursday, Sept. 7. Services have resumed in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. Nightly operations have been suspended in some areas to accommodate curfews. For more information, click here.

Hurricane Irma damage: What to do about fallen trees and how to stop the danger

Hurricane Irma, once a Category 5 monster with record-breaking 185-mph winds, weakened to a tropical storm as it plowed through parts of the Southeast after leaving Florida on Monday.

>> Read more trending news

The storm killed more than 40 people in the Caribbean and Florida, and at least three people were killed in Georgia, two crushed by falling trees.

Millions of people were left in the dark, as the storm toppled trees and power lines across parts of the Southeast.

If you’re experiencing tree damage following the tropical storm, here are expert tips on tree safety, removal and more: 

>> Related: Of your neighbor’s tree falls in your yard, who pays for it?

Signs of tree danger

  • Dead branches or branches barely hanging by a thread
  • Insect infestations
  • Hollowing inside the tree
  • Leaking sap
  • Cracks in the lower trunk or large stems split from the tree
  • Severed or broken roots
  • Noticeable tree lean after a storm

>> Related: Hurricane Irma damage: What to do before, during and after a flood

What to do if a tree falls on your property and who to call for help

Do not attempt to self-clean.

According to Ryan Smith of Monster Tree Service, this is one of the most dangerous mistakes people make after a tree causes damage on their property.

“So many people get hurt after a storm because they get on the roof to try and fix the damage themselves and slip and fall,” he said. “Our experts won’t even do that without the proper equipment.”

Stay away from the damaged areas.

If you walk on compromised areas, such as near downed power lines, the repercussions could be quite dangerous, Smith said.

Immediately call a tree removal service, but avoid getting scammed.

You want to find a tree removal company that not only carries insurance, but specifically includes workers’ compensation.

This is because the biggest risk during tree removal is someone getting damaged on property, Smith said.

When calling the company, ask for certificates and proof of liability insurance and workers’ compensation.

>> Related: Photos: Hurricane Irma damage in Florida Keys

Remember to look out for any unsolicited offers and too-good-to-be-true bargains. It’s always best to double check references and read reviews.

Be sure to sign a written agreement before the work, and unless it’s just a small deposit, there’s no reason to pay up front.

Read more here.

If your neighbor's tree falls in your yard, who pays for cleanup?

If a tree falls in your yard, what you do next could save you money, a limb and maybe even your life.

>> Read more trending news 

According to Trees Atlanta, the metro area has the nation's highest "urban tree canopy," defined as the layer of leaves, branches and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above.

During the stormy summer months, fallen trees are fixtures in metro Atlanta's landscape. The steps you take after a tree falls can mean the difference between headache and heartache.

The first thing to do is call your homeowners insurance agent, said Bob Delbridge, owner of 404-Cut-Tree, one of the largest tree service companies in the Atlanta area.

"Occasionally we will deal directly with the insurance company. But that's more likely if there is a storm that covers a large area, like a whole neighborhood." Delbridge said. "Typically, the homeowner deals with their own insurance company."

Where the tree falls determines who pays for what. "Almost everyone is surprised when we tell them, the way the law works is, wherever the tree landed, that person is responsible for dealing with it regardless of where the tree came from."

That's right, even if the tree is rooted in your neighbor's yard, if it crashes onto your property, it's your problem.

Once the insurance agent gives the green light, the homeowner is responsible for hiring contractors. Homeowners can save money cutting up the tree themselves and then hiring someone to simply remove logs and branches. However, unless skilled with a chainsaw, owners should leave tree removal to professionals, Delbridge said.

"Typically, if the homeowners are out there with chainsaws, we'll talk to them about some basic safety information. This might save somebody's leg," he said. "There are just very easy steps to take that could really minimize injuries."

He recommends people wear protective chapssafety glasses and other gear.

"It's a federal law that commercial tree cutters wear chaps whenever they handle chainsaws on the ground. All the established companies do this," Delbridge said. "The most common injury caused by the chainsaw is an injury to the leg."

These chaps are available at retailers like Lowe's and online. "They are made of material that will stop the chainsaw blade even when it's turning at full speed without even bruising your skin." he said. "Protective glasses will help you avoid eye injuries from flying splinters."

Cutting up a fallen tree is not a DIY project for amateurs. "They might avoid paying the tree cutter some money, but they'll probably end up paying the emergency room," Delbridge said. "It's very dangerous to cut trees, and storm situations are the most dangerous. It really depends on the skill of the owner."

Even those skilled with power tools need to take precautions before tackling a fallen tree. "Whenever trees are down, the first thing to do is look for power lines." Delbridge said. "Believe it or not, trees conduct electricity, and every year there are so many people that are electrocuted by touching a branch that is also touching a live power line."

Delbridge cautioned homeowners to be wary of branches that may be bent beneath a fallen tree. "They can really have a powerful spring effect. Another common injury happens when someone cuts a branch and the tree jumps because they've reduced the weight, and the tree falls on someone. They could lose a leg or their life."

Lataunya Tilstra, an insurance agent with New York Life, said depending on the extent of damage, a homeowner might need several contractors to finish the job. One of her neighbors recently had a tree fall on her house.

"She had to call the tree service first. Then she needed a roofer, and she'll need a builder to rebuild the part of her house that was damaged. So she has several moving parts."

Speaking of insurance claims, most policies cover only damage if the tree falls on a part of the home. "Sometimes the fallen tree can cover your whole yard, and they're not going to help you with a dime of it unless it's actually on a patio, the fence, house or garage," said Corey Cargle, owner of Steve's Tree and Landscape Service in Atlanta.

"I had one homeowner's insurance company turn one of my customers down for a tree that was hit by lightning. It was uprooting, splitting, leaning all over her house and was ready to fall. But they would not approve of any preventive work to remove the tree before it damaged the home," Cargle said. "They basically told (the homeowner) to take care of it or it would be negligent because she knew the tree was about to fall. In hindsight, the homeowner should have waited and let the tree fall on the house I guess, and saved themselves thousands. Insurance companies can be rough."

Cargle recommends you take plenty of pictures. "If it leaves your property and hits someone's home, car or anything else, it's off you. It becomes their tree. A lot of people call us and say, ‘Hey, this tree fell from my neighbors house into our yard, and I want you to give us an estimate and we'll give it to them,’ but it doesn't work like that."

How disasters affect schoolchildren for years afterward

Clearing up physical damage is only part of recovering from a major disaster, according to researchers. Even when the power comes back on and roofs are fixed, a serious human-caused or natural disaster can negatively affect schoolchildren for years.

>> Read more trending news

David Schonfeld, head of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement at the University of Southern California, said adults don’t always see how the effects of a disaster can linger with children. 

“People may have died, and there is grief related to that,” Schonfeld said. “Children don’t easily get over it. They don’t forget it. They don’t go back to the way they were before.” 

According to the research, graduation rates and academic performance tend to drop after a disaster. The amount of the drop varies from situation to situation. 

Schonfeld said he told one school administrator the effect of a large disaster was like a runner in a marathon sitting out awhile after hurting her ankle. The runner may keep running -- even running at the same pace -- but time has been lost from sitting out. 

Read more about how children are affected by major storms on myajc.com

3 accused of looting Florida gas station after Irma

Two juveniles and one adult were arrested after allegedly looting a gas station in suburban West Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday morning after Hurricane Irma, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

>> Read more trending news

At 8 a.m., two juveniles and 23-year-old Austin Johnson were found by deputies at the Shell gas station 2970 North Military Trail, just north of Palm Beach Lakes and west of Interstate 95. The three were found with cartons of cigarettes and packages of beer and cigars, according to investigators.

The two juveniles, whose ages were not released, were taken to the juvenile detention center and Johnson was taken to the Palm Beach County jail. All three face charges of burglary to a business during a state of emergency and grand theft.

Hurricane Jose weakens, Katia dissipates

The National Hurricane Center upgraded tropical storms Jose and Katia to hurricanes last week as Irma barreled toward the Florida coast. Katia was downgraded Sept. 9. 

>> See the latest on Katia, Jose and Irma 

Hurricane Irma damage: 4 tips for dealing with insurance claims

As Hurricane Irma battered Florida on Sunday and other parts of the Southeast on Monday, the Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier offered these 4 tips for residents whose property has been damaged as a result of the storm.

>> Read more trending news

1. Locate all applicable insurance policies. This may include a homeowners’ policy, flood policy (flood coverage is not covered under a typical homeowners’ policy and is separate coverage) and an automobile policy (may cover damage to your car from flooding).

2. Document all damaged property and belongings. Take photos or shoot video footage before attempting any temporary repairs. When you file an insurance claim, you may be asked for visual documentation of damages. A photographic home inventory is a handy resource for this situation. A free smartphone app developed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners called “MyHome Scr.APP.book” can help you take and store a room-by-room log of photos.

3. Contact your insurance company or insurance agent as soon as possible to report damages.

Insurance policies require prompt reporting of claims, so it is important to act as soon as possible.

>> Related: Hurricane Irma: Live updates

4. Cover damaged areas that may be exposed to the elements in order to prevent further damage.

Your insurance company may reimburse the expense of these temporary repairs, so keep all receipts. Remove water-logged and otherwise damaged items from your house to prevent the spread of mold, but document them and do not dispose of any damaged property until your insurance company adjuster has had an opportunity to survey it.

>> Related: Post-Hurricane Erma destruction: 10 tips for right after storm passes

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