Hurricane Irma weakens, continues to lash Florida

Hurricane Irma weakens, continues to lash Florida

Powerful winds from Hurricane Irma battered Florida with forecasters warning of unsafe strom surges that will lead to massive flooding across the U.S. state, media reports said.

In Atlanta, meteorologist Minton said the high winds of Monday had turned into the breezes of Tuesday - a likely maximum of 17 miles per hour in the metro area Tuesday, compared with gusts up to 64 miles per hour Monday.

In an interview Monday afternoon, Mayor John Tecklenburg said that the city had been hit with a four-foot storm surge, leaving parts of the peninsula looking as if they had merged with the Ashley River.

St Martin and St Barthelemy: Six out of 10 homes on St Martin, an island shared between France and the Netherlands, are now uninhabitable, French officials say. Georgia: More than 1.3 million customers, according to Georgia Power and Georgia EMC.

Residents returning to the Florida Keys archipelago have found Hurricane Irma shredded mobile homes like soda cans and coated businesses with seaweed. But Shiveley said the water never crested over the city's barriers. By Sunday morning, streets were flooded and damage was already evident.

"We don't have a comprehensive insight into what the damage is", Bryan Koon, Florida director of Emergency Management said late Sunday. "Everybody has got to be patient as we work through this".

The total, 1.24 million statewide, was down from almost 1.5 million on Monday as utility crews swarmed over the state, working hard to get the lights back on. More than 59% of gas stations in Miami-Fort Lauderdale, which at one point was in the crosshairs of the storm before it shifted west, were without fuel. The death toll jumped to at least 40 as Cuba said 10 people had been killed there over the weekend as the storm carved a path northward.

"Don't drive over down power lines, into standing or moving water, and make sure you have a good spare tire", a representative said.

The figure represents nearly 60% of the state's electricity users, who were still experiencing power outage as of 9 p.m. EDT Monday, according to the state's Division of Emergency Management. Officials warned it could take weeks for electricity to be restored to everyone.

More than 180 000 people huddled in shelters in the Sunshine State.

As the storm weakens as it heads towards Georgia, outages have levelled off or even declined at some Florida utilities, while increasing in Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.

The storm did some $20bn to $40bn in damage to insured property as it tore through Florida, catastrophe modelling firm AIR Worldwide estimated.

"As soon as the wind shifts direction, the water will come back quickly and continue to move inland", CNN meteorologist Judson Jones said. A few other models put the storm on a more northward track closer to a North Carolina, Virginia or Maryland landfall late next week.

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