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Flights cancelled as storm leaves four dead in Georgia and South Carolina

The remnants of Hurricane Irma have forced Atlanta's international airport - one of the world's busiest - to cancel nearly 200 flights as the storm claimed at least four lives in Georgia and South Carolina.

The flights cancelled at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport put the total number of interrupted trips there due to Irma at about 1,300, spokesman Andrew Gobeil said.

The airport remained operational, although some passengers were forced to spend the night at the airport.

Meteorologist Keith Stellman said Atlanta's airport recorded sustained winds of 45mph with gusts up to 64mph.

The National Hurricane Centre said it expects Irma to drop 5in to 8in of rain across South Carolina and the northern regions of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.

More than 1.2 million Georgia Power and Electric Membership customers were without power on Tuesday morning. The utility companies said they would continue to assess damage as power is restored.

Alabama Power reported 20,000 outages. The utilities said repairs could take several days.

In Atlanta, people nervously watched towering oak trees as the city, 250 miles inland, experienced its first tropical storm warning.

Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority resumed service on Tuesday but with limited routes. The transport operator said it will have rail services running at 20-minute intervals.

Weakened to a tropical depression after hammering Florida, Irma still had enough force when it swirled into Georgia to cause significant damage.

Heavy rain and strong wind caused flooding along the coast, downed power lines and sent trees crashing on to homes.

In south Georgia, a 62-year-old man had a heart attack and died after climbing a ladder to try to secure the roof above his tractor-trailer.

John Kline was found under debris on the roof of his shed in Worth County, where winds topped 40mph. Coroner John Johnson said Mr Kline suffered chronic heart disease and believes his death was not storm-related.

Another man, in his 50s, was killed just outside Atlanta when a tree fell on his house, Sandy Springs police Sergeant Sam Worsham said.

In addition, a woman died when a tree fell on a vehicle in a private driveway, Forsyth County Sheriff's Office said.

About 540,000 people were ordered to evacuate days earlier from Savannah and the rest of Georgia's coast. Irma sent 4ft of ocean water into central Charleston, South Carolina, as the storm's centre passed 250 miles way.

Charles Saxon, 57, became South Carolina's first recorded death when he was struck by a tree limb while clearing debris outside his home in Calhoun Falls amid wind gusts of about 40mph, according to the Abbeville County Coroner.

Another man was killed in a crash on a wet and windy motorway in South Carolina as Irma moved past. Public safety officials said 21-year-old Zhen Tain died in the accident on Interstate 77 just east of Columbia.

AP

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