Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Hurricane Irma to become tropical storm on Monday: NHC

Hurricane Irma to become tropical storm on Monday: NHC

"Florida's peninsula is only approximately 160 miles wide and this storm stretches more than 300 miles, so we expect storm surge and tropical storm-force winds or higher across our entire service territory".

Forecasters said Irma could hit the Tampa-St.

The hurricane center has discontinued all storm surge and tropical storm warnings. A major round of evacuations was ordered in the Tampa area, and shelters there soon began filling up.

"The storm's here", said Gov. Scott Saturday morning.

Hurricane Irma set all sorts of records for brute strength before crashing into Florida, flattening islands in the Caribbean and swamping the Florida Keys.

Florida Power & Light officials say it could be more than 10 days before power is restored to all customers who are in the dark due to Hurricane Irma. Some 6.3 million people were instructed to evacuate in Florida alone, according to The Telegraph.

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionWATCH Amateur footage shows a bay in Key Largo drained by Hurricane Irma
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionWATCH Amateur footage shows a bay in Key Largo drained by Hurricane Irma

But that soon changed.

Irma has now been the subject of more than 80 advisories from the hurricane center, with the first dating back to August 30, when it was a tropical storm with sustained wind speeds of 50 miles per hour.

Scott has been crisscrossing the state this week telling people to prepare and not delay evacuation plans as the state struggled to keep up with water and fuel demands created by people rushing to prepare for the storm.

The forecast for Hurricane Irma's path has shifted to the southwest of the heavily populated Miami metro area as time runs out to evacuate. Now the area has around 3 million people.

Homes destroyed: About a dozen homes were hit by trees and destroyed in Hillsborough County, where Tampa is located, according to an initial assessment by county officials.

As morning broke, he couldn't open the electric shutters to see outside.

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"I got the walls up ... going to have to rebuild it", he told Qujano. "I just don't know".

Irma was at one time the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the open Atlantic, with a peak wind speed of 185 miles per hour (300 km/h) last week.

As the hurricane's eye approached the Keys, 60-year-old Carol Walterson Stroud and her family were huddled in a third-floor apartment at a senior center in Key West. The streets were almost empty, shops were boarded up and the wind started to blow.

"This is not a one-day event", Curry said. "Tonight, I'm scared to death".

At Germain Arena, where thousands sought refuge south of Fort Myers, people sat amid puddles on the concrete floor Monday morning. "It means it hasn't gotten to us yet", Koon said.

The governor activated all 7,000 members of the Florida National Guard, and 30,000 guardsmen from elsewhere were on standby.

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The country's disaster office also issued warnings of heavy rains and winds in various regions of Haiti late Saturday night. Even though Havana was far from where Irma first hit, the city suffered severe flooding and widespread wind damage.

- Disney World was forced to close, for only the sixth time in its 45-year history.

"It's seen its share of hurricanes", Palmer said. The damage in Florida totalled $26 billion, and at least 40 people died.

Images out of Polk County, Florida shows the devastation occurring as first responders attempted to go out into the storm.

"They said this one is going to be bigger than Andrew".

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