Irma weakens to tropical storm, but still packs a punch

Losing some of its deadly strength but retaining its vast size, the storm stretched from Florida's Gulf Coast to the Atlantic as it churned past Tampa.

Hurricane Irma began its assault on Florida early Sunday with the storm making landfall on Cudjoe Key in the lower Florida Keys.

"The damages in Key West, Florida, are 'what you would expect with 120-mile-an-hour winds", but people in the Florida Keys are "tough", Sen.

Also, more than 70 percent of the customers of the two largest electric utilities in Florida were without power, according to the State Emergency Response Team.

Powerful storm surges could also cause more devastating flooding across the state.

At least 7 million homes and businesses were left without power in the southeastern United States-mostly in Florida, Reuters reported, citing state and local utilities. Not everyone heeded the calls. Southbound US Route 1 - the only road connecting the Keys - is closed, Florida Keys spokesman Andy Newman said.

Trump has offered the full resources of the federal government to Florida and the affected states. He said he and his neighbors have generators, batteries, food and water and other supplies. "Today we rescued many of them. We have to wait till all the elements pass through", he said.

Midnight: The center of Hurricane Irma moved 25 miles south of Lakeland by midnight with 100 mph top winds, but it sent relentless gusts and rain for more than 400 miles from its center and refused to go quietly across South Florida including Palm Beach County.

"They're putting their lives in danger", Lee said.

Nayiri Storm in a picture shared by the Miami-Dade Police Department. "Preparation for this storm will not detract from World Vision's continued response to Hurricane Harvey", the children's charity said.

"Stay inside. Stay safe", he added.

The major risk for the Keys and Florida's beaches will be the storm surge, which is like a storm-aided high tide. "Widespread 3-8" of rainfall is possible with isolated 10-12" amounts in southern Georgia.

"We were never properly restocked with fuel, which I personally brought up with Gov. Scott, who has been tremendously helpful", Honig said. "But this is only going to last a few weeks". Fire Chief Michael Murphy telling us, "we were getting predictions that we were going to have 10-15 feet of storm surge. we are grateful that we were spared".

  • Leroy Wright