Power Out For More Than 60 Percent Of Florida Homes And Businesses

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While Hurricane Irma weakened to a tropical storm after barreling through Florida over the weekend, NASA and NOAA have been busy churning out stunning imagery of the storm.

More than 5.5 million homes and businesses are without power in multiple states as Tropical Storm Irma moves through the Southeast.

Irma is now expected to skirt the western coast of the state, along the Gulf of Mexico, until entering through the panhandle and dying in Georgia.

Irma, which decimated the Caribbean as a top-tier Category 5 hurricane before losing strength after repeated landfalls in the continental US, was downgraded to a tropical storm Monday.

Irma made landfall just after 9am at Cudjoe Key, about 32km outside Key West.

Powerful winds from Hurricane Irma battered Florida with forecasters warning of unsafe strom surges that will lead to massive flooding across the USA state, media reports said. A few hours later, it was downgraded to a Category 3 storm.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said the situation was not as bad as it could have been but warned residents that unsafe storm surge continued. The South Florida Water Management District, for one, moved from planning for a catastrophe to planning for a more manageable crisis.

During its rainy, windy run up the full 400-mile length of Florida, Irma swamped homes, uprooted trees, flooded streets, snapped miles of power lines and toppled construction cranes.

The Washington Post reports that the storm surge also raised water levels eight feet in two hours in Naples, with a rise in coastal water levels between 10 and 15 feet possible in other areas in the state.

An apparent tornado spun off by Irma destroyed six mobile homes in Palm Bay, midway up the Atlantic coast, and flooding was reported along Interstate 4, which cuts across Florida's mid-section. The project was being developed by New York-based Property Markets Group, according to The Real Deal, a South Florida real estate news website. "I think we're really well coordinated, as well as you can possibly be". Our goal is to continue providing our customers power now and during the storm. "You've got to be patient".

At least four were killed in the US Virgin Islands, and at least two were killed in the US territory of Puerto Rico, with more than half of its three million residents without power. "We do have backup generation", FPL spokesman Rob Gould said on Sunday.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president had several calls with Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Sen. That could change, however, as authorities get out to inspect the damage.

Trump signaled support for such a change via Twitter on Friday night, setting up a potential fight with civil liberties advocates fearing the change would violate a constitutional separation of church and state affairs.

Total rainfall from Hurricane Harvey.

Meanwhile, more than 160,000 people waited in shelters statewide as Irma headed up the coast.

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