Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Hurricane Irma downgraded to Category 3, will regain strength before hitting Florida

Hurricane Irma downgraded to Category 3, will regain strength before hitting Florida

It's expected to hit South Florida early Sunday.

Even as glimmers of hope emerged from parts of the state forecasters once anxious would be razed by the storm, the fate of the Florida Keys, where Irma rumbled through with Category 4 muscle, remained largely a question mark.

Many Florida families say online retailers let them down at the worst possible moment with cancellations and no-shows ahead of powerful Hurricane Irma even before the weather deteriorated. The government of France ended its Tropical Storm Warning for St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.

Some 400 miles (640 kilometers) north of the Keys, people in the Tampa-St. Neither city has suffered a major hurricane in almost a century.

The Louisiana coastline has a wide and shallow continental shelf, which can produce a 20-foot storm surge in a Category 4 hurricane.

Such was the sentiment around Florida on Saturday, where zoos, theme parks, rescue centers and just about anyplace else dealing with animals were bracing for Hurricane Irma's arrival. The streets emptied and shops were boarded up before the wind started to howl.

About 6.4 million people were told to flee.

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People stand next to palm trees as they look at churning waves and high winds along Hollywood Beach, Fla., September 9, 2017.

In a press conference late Saturday, Scott said an expected storm surge could reach 4.5 metres in the south-western coastal city of Naples. R'Mir Demetri Peavy was the first delivered by Dr. Celestino Castellon at 2:52 Hurricane Irma was heading closer to South Florida. Now the area has around 3 million people. St. Martin saw several people killed and vast damage to homes, electricity and water supplies.

"So then as the storm has shifted folks are sort of shuffling around the state". Many businesses had yet to protect windows with plywood or hurricane shutters.

Some locals grumbled about the forecast, even though Florida's west coast had always been included in the zone of probability.

"We may have been a little bit lucky in that it went on the west and it may not have been quite as destructive, but we're going to see", Mr Trump said, addressing reporters after returning to the White House from Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland where he spent the weekend monitoring the storm.

Almost the entire Florida coastline remained under hurricane watches and warnings, and the latest projections could shift again, aiming the worst of the storm at other parts of the state.

"What we really fear more than anything is that storm surge", Buckhorn told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Sunday.

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"We got here actually last night at like five in the morning", Brooke said.

"If you're in an evacuation zone, you've got to get to a shelter, need to get to a shelter. there's not many hours left", Florida Governor Rick Scott warned residents.

At Germain Arena not far from Fort Myers, on Florida's southwestern corner, thousands waited in a snaking line for hours to gain a spot in the hockey venue-turned-shelter.

"Well", he added, "we're about to get punched in the face".

It's unclear exactly how long Hurricane Irma will continue or how much more water will be dumped on Florida, but from the first images that have emerged, the state is already being hit with a disastrous amount of rain and heavy winds.

Florida's governor activated all 7,000 members of the Florida National Guard, and 10,000 guardsmen from elsewhere were being deployed.

In the Orlando area, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World all were closing Saturday.

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