Irma now a tropical storm, but still lashing Florida and Georgia

Irma now a tropical storm, but still lashing Florida and Georgia

Hurricane Irma knocked out power to about 7.3 million homes and businesses in the U.S. Southeast, mostly in Florida, according to state officials and local electric utilities.

"Stay inside. Stay safe", he added. Marathon Fire-Rescue was also providing updates as it made its way west, but it, too, stopped updating Facebook after declaring Sunday evening, "We have made it to Tavernier".

"In terms of the heaviest rain, it's covering much of Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas", Ward said.

Puerto Rico: More than 6,000 residents of the U.S. territory are in shelters and many more without power. "To the public in their homes who are trying to ride out this storm, we urge you to not get on the roads until you have been given clearance by everyone who is required to give clearance".

The same cautions surely extended into the Keys, where Marathon International Airport was already logging sustained wind of 48 miles per hour and a gust of 67 miles per hour.

Experts predict the storm will begin to veer north late Saturday, hit the Florida Keys Sunday morning and then the southwest coast of Florida by Sunday afternoon. In addition, the authorities in Florida have confirmed that at least three people were killed by Irma in the state.

Hurricane Irma should be moving directly over the Tampa Bay area around midnight.

"So, usually the eastern side of the storm has winds opposite of the winds aloft, so that's where you have high levels of (vertical) sheer", Ward said. "Very noisy", he said by text message.

That would have put the hurricane over the east coast of Florida.

- Georgia was already feeling the effects of the storm, with more than 17,000 customers without power in Savannah.

"All I can do is have faith we will survive this", said Tampa nurse Renee Silverman, who lives in Tampa who is choosing not to evacuate.

Most of Florida and parts of Georgia were under tornado watches Sunday as the hurricane's destructive core powered its way into Florida's Gulf Coast, and tornado warnings followed. No injuries were reported.

Florida Governor Rick Scott expressed his condolences to the families of the deceased.

Prime Minister Theresa May said work was taking place with USA authorities to ensure British expats and tourists in Florida are protected as millions of locals and visitors flee to safety.

- In Venice, the water plant was shut down after it was damaged by the storm.

About 2ft (60cm) of flood water has been seen in the city's financial district, where one major street resembled a river.

In the Orlando area, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World all prepared to close Saturday.

Irma - at one time the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the open Atlantic - left more than 20 people dead across the Caribbean. Tropical Storm Irma was located about 70 miles east of Tallahassee.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from the center, and tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 415 miles.

- In South Carolina, almost 200,000 customers were without power, according to utility companies.

A tornado was sighted in Oakland Park Saturday night, and the National Weather Service issued a tornado for every place between Monroe and Palm Beach counties.



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