Hurricane Irma climbs Florida coast, risky storm surges feared

14 September, 2017, 00:54 | Author: Nora May
  • Source WGCL

Hurricane Irma wasn't the only vortex that the southeastern US had to worry about Sunday.

There were no immediate reports of deaths in Florida. This is the longest any cyclone has maintained that intensity on record, according to Phil Klotzbach, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University. Irma's wind speeds have made it the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic basin, outside the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, in the NHC's recorded history, the center said.

President Donald Trump has declared a major disaster in Florida, which will allow emergency funds to pour into the state.

The governor said that the damage along Florida's southwest coast in such places as Naples and Fort Myers was not as bad as feared.

More than six million people have been ordered to evacuate the southern end, that's about a third of the state's population.

Irma hit Miami with 209kph winds and is now heading towards the Tampa Bay area on Florida's west coast, where almost 455,000 residents are preparing for impact.

Irma's center was about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of the heavily populated Tampa-St.

The historic storm is so wide that authorities faced destructive storm surges on both coasts of Florida and the Keys as it follows a path north toward Georgia. Many classrooms also were closed in Georgia, which was was under a tropical storm warning for much of Monday.

Almost 7.2 million homes and businesses are without power in multiple states as Tropical Storm Irma moves through the Southeast. While it arrived in Florida a Category 4 hurricane, it was down to a Category 1 with winds of 85 miles per hour (135 kph).

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- A storm surge warning wraps around the state, from Brevard County to Tampa Bay.

Irma's heavy rain could also bring flash flooding and rapid rises on creeks, streams and rivers.

"A really large crash and I thought it might have been something right there, but it came from back there", said Jacobson while pointing out the damage.

"Pray, pray for everybody in Florida", Gov. Rick Scott said on Fox News Sunday as more than 160,000 people statewide waited it out in shelters.

John Huston, who stayed in his Key Largo home, watched his yard flood even before the arrival of high tide.

Anxious relatives, generous volunteers and frantic neighbors turned to social media after Hurricane Irma wiped out electricity and cell service to many communities around Florida, cutting off most contact with remote islands in the Keys.

"I've been here with other storms, other hurricanes".

"We're also identifying chaplains on the East Coast who have volunteered for Harvey, to redirect them to Irma, because we've had such an overwhelming response from our chaplains", said Jack Munday, global director of the Rapid Response Team.

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