Monday, 19 February, 2018

Irma weakens to tropical storm - NHC

Herman Weaver | 13 September, 2017, 04:10

The centre of Hurricane Irma has hit mainland Florida, just south of Naples, amid warnings of storm surges as high as 4.5m. Here's Florida's governor, Rick Scott.

7am - Hurricane Irma has truly hit Florida with two million homes without power and at least three people dead. Joining us now from Miami to tell us more is NPR's Greg Allen.

At 5 a.m. ET (0900 GMT), Irma was carrying maximum sustained winds of near 75 miles per hour (120 km per hour) the National Hurricane Center said. It's - as you say, it came aground in Key West early this - today and did a massive amount of damage there.

More than 116,000 were reported to have taken refuge in some 530 shelters across Florida, The Washington Post and other news outlets reported. This also happened in the Bahamas, Key Largo, Fort Myers and the Florida Panhandle.

Jacksonville - the largest city geographically in the country - is grappling with a record storm surge and will get slammed with severe flash flooding before Irma continues her destructive northward march to Georgia and beyond.

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The Lower Keys Key could see widespread, "catastrophic" damage, hurricane specialist Mike Brennan said.

The St. Johns River, which cuts through this northeastern Florida city, overflowed its banks, flooding bridges and city streets. "The storm surge will rush in and could kill you".

At the very least, the tiny island is back open after bracing for the historic storm, Marco Island Fire Rescue Chief Mike Murphy said Monday. "It's terrible what we saw". And how bad is the damage? You know there's no question, there is nothing amusing or anything about this. And then as it shifted west, a lot of people here kind of relaxed a little bit. "It is time to take this storm seriously".

Miami also saw its share of heavy rainfall near 12 inches and storm surge 2-4 ft above normal tides causing numerous roads through downtown to flood.

The boom of the crane collapsed at the Vice Tower in Miami, The Miami Herald reported. We saw a lot of trees down. The company updated technology - which Silagy says now allows it to pinpoint outages without customers needing to report them - and strengthened power lines and poles.

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