“If Tampa stays on the east side of the eye, we expect the storm surge to be worse than if the eye moves inland and the west side of the storm hits it”, he said. Some 6.5 million people, about a third of the state’s population, had been ordered to evacuate southern Florida to shelters, hotels or relatives in safer areas.
Hurricane Irma weakened to a Category 3 storm late Saturday morning as it continued to batter Cuba with sustained 125-mph winds, the National Hurricane Center said.
During its march up Florida’s west coast, Irma swamped homes, uprooted trees, flooded streets, snapped miles of power lines and toppled construction cranes.
“What’s happening here is that it looks like it’s moving so far west toward the Gulf Coast that we’re gonna get destructive winds and storm surge, but not almost to the degree it would be if the cone of uncertainty, as they call it were closer to our area”.
What is happening in Florida?
– In Venice, Florida, the water plant was shut down after it was damaged by the storm. “This is an extremely unsafe and life-threatening situation”.
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew, which hit the United States as a Category 5 storm, caused more than $26.5 billion worth of damage to the Bahamas, Florida and Louisiana. “It’s a very large storm that will take longer to get through”.
Thousands of people on the mainland are now without electricity.
The NHC earlier tweeted that people in the area of Naples and Marco Island should move away from the coast as storm surges of up to 15ft were possible.
Hurricane Irma was downgraded to tropical storm Monday, but that did little to lessen the threat of more destruction in the coming hours.
Mike Merrill, the Hillsborough County administrator, said 28,000 people had taken refuge in 45 county shelters. The company updated technology – which Silagy says now allows it to pinpoint outages without customers needing to report them – and strengthened power lines and poles.
The third fatality was confirmed in Orange County when a person driving a Cadillac SUV hit a guardrail on southbound State Road 417.
St Martin and St Barthelemy: Six out of 10 homes on St Martin, an island shared between France and the Netherlands, now uninhabitable, French officials say. The storm damaged about 95% of the buildings on the island, said Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of the nation of Antigua and Barbuda. The other two Hurricane Jose and Hurricane Katia have also been deemed unsafe. Tropical storm force winds are also expected on Monday across east Alabama. Medical aid and relief aid is already being prepared to be shipped to the anticipated affected areas.
Recently planted palm trees lie strewn across the road as Hurricane Irma passes by, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Miami Beach, Fla.
Irma’s track shifted gradually west on Friday with the west coast of Florida facing an increasingly grim future as the storm refused to make a forecast right turn.