Sunday, 24 September, 2017

Irma begins assault on Florida Keys

Irma begins assault on Florida Keys Irma begins assault on Florida Keys
Sammy Stanley | 13 September, 2017, 04:15

In Redington Shores west of Tampa, attorney Carl Roberts spent a sleepless night riding out Irma in his 17th floor beachfront condo.

Irma was forecast to cross the eastern Florida Panhandle and move into southern Georgia later in the day, dumping as much as 16 inches (41 cm) of rain, government forecasters said.

Tampa Electric reported more than 300,000 accounts had been knocked offline.

After what she called a terrifying night bunkered in her house in St. Petersburg, on Florida's Gulf Coast, with her children and extended family, Julie Hally emerged with relief on Monday. It had weakened to a tropical storm by Monday morning (local time) as it headed toward Georgia.

"It's so dark in here", he said.

The governor urged those especially in southwest Florida evacuation areas to find a safe place before noon.

He said the water, electricity and sewage systems in the Keys were non-operational, and that trailer parks had been "overturned".

Before Jose's slight weakening, the Atlantic had two hurricanes with winds of more than 150 miles per hour at the same time for the first time on record, Colorado State University meteorologist Philip Klotzbach said Friday.

When a Category 3 or 4 hurricane meets a roof, the storm often wins. There were no immediate reports of tornadoes touching down.

Jacksonville, Florida's largest city by population and the biggest city in the country by area, is dealing with its worst flooding since 1964.Mayor Lenny Curry had ordered more than 250,000 people to evacuate their homes and said Monday emergency crews were in "rescue mode."He warned the serious flooding could be a week-long event".

Hurricane Irma Causes 'Whiteout' Conditions Due to Heavy Rain
He and roommate Krock Indigo, 22, wanted to experience the intensity of the storm. The hurricane's powerful eyewall crossed the Gulf of Mexico island at 3:35 p.m.

But once it straightens out, it will be aimed at the East Coast, it could strengthen, and it bears watching, says one expert.

The storm killed at least 28 people as it raged westward through the Caribbean en route to Florida.

But Irma again intensified over the warm waters approaching the Florida mainland, making it a Category 4, then shortly thereafter a 3 (still considered a major hurricane).

At 9 a.m., more than 200,000 people were in 587 shelters across the state. "What's going to happen now?"

For days, forecasters had warned that Irma was taking dead aim at the Miami metropolitan area and the rest of Florida's Atlantic coast.

Vice President Mike Pence and several members of Trump's cabinet were set to visit FEMA headquarters on Sunday afternoon to talk with staff members who have been working there as well as agency officials, the White House said. In Georgia, 540,000 residents were told to leave the coast, while in SC, almost 45,000 people were ordered to evacuate.

The string of islands was the first part of the state hit by the storm, and were still without water, power or cell service Monday.

Irma once was the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the open Atlantic, a Category 5 with a peak wind speed of 185 miles per hour (300 kph).

Irma, however, continued to be a threat as it crossed the northern part of the state and because of lingering storm surges along both coasts.

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