Hurricane Irma leaves Florida 'powerless', moves north

Posted September 13, 2017

The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center warned of life-threatening storm surges "Expected in areas of onshore winds along the Florida west coast". We won't have hurricane force winds in the state, but tropical storm force winds are possible for parts of the state. Authorities are still surveying damage from the record-breaking storm, and this story will be updated as more details emerge.

Irma continues to sustain 50 miles per hour winds and stronger gusts, but is expected to be downgraded to a tropical depression as it moves into Alabama on Tuesday.

Hurricane Irma hit southwest Florida on Sunday, downing power lines, uprooting trees and turning streets into rivers.

Now the storm is already lashing South Florida with tropical storm force winds, multiple tornadoes, and heavy rain.

Jose, with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph, was about 85 miles north-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands around 5 p.m. ET.

However, forecasters are warning that swells generated by Irma along the southeastern USA coast could still cause "life-threatening surf and rip current conditions".

In requesting federal disaster relief Sunday, Gov. Rick Scott said the state had already spent $75 million on Irma. The storm damaged about 95% of the buildings on the island, said Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of the nation of Antigua and Barbuda.

He says he hopes everyone who stayed behind survived Irma.

Washington, Sep 11 (IANS) Hurricane Irma on Monday weakened to a Category 1 storm with top sustained winds of 120km/h battering Florida with continued hurricane-force winds, torrential rain and risky storm surges, leaving almost six million without power.

Florida Power and Light estimated that 3.4 million of its customers could be without power at some point during Irma, which would make it largest number of outages they have ever had to deal with in history, company spokesman Chris McGrath told CNN Saturday.

The Florida Keys have suffered some minor damage and are expected to bear the brunt of the storm in the coming hours.

Irma has been moving along the Cuban coast, and that has taken some punch away from the hurricane.

However, hurricane warnings are in place for St Martin and St Barthelemy, both also hit by Irma.

For a bit of positive news, the state agency added, "Hurricane Jose does not pose a threat to Florida".

All of Irma's rain means there is also a storm surge warning in effect, with up to 3 feet of water above ground in surge-prone areas.

Irma was forecast to cross the eastern Florida Panhandle and move into southern Georgia later in the day, dumping as much as 41 cm of rain, government forecasters said.