NHC: Irma weakens into tropical depression

NHC: Irma weakens into tropical depression

Florida residents began heading back to their homes as a weakened Hurricane Irma advanced inland, flooding several cities in the state's north-east. A storm surge of 3 feet was reported along the St. Johns River near the Interstate 295 Bridge.

But Irma's maximum sustained winds have dropped to around 70 miles per hour (110 km/h), and the storm is expected to weaken further and become a tropical depression - with maximum sustained winds of 38 miles per hour (62 km/h) or less - by Tuesday afternoon (Sept. 12), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported.

Perhaps the most stirring video comes from the US Virgin Islands, where the aftermath looks nearly post-apocalyptic.

"The wind may have stopped blowing, but for most of the Florida Keys, there is no fuel, electricity, running water, or cell service".

Speaking as he went on an aerial tour of the Keys to survey the damage early on Monday, he said: "Power lines are down throughout the state". Reports say that 10,000 people made a decision to ride out the storm.

Insured property losses in Florida from Irma are expected to run from US$20 billion to US$40 billion, catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide estimated.

- Affected states include Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Parts of Georgia lost power on Monday as Irma passed.

Cox recounted how travelers began posting their favorite recollections of their time vacationing on the island on social media during the storm: "To me, the most encouraging thing is that all those memories center around that lovely beach and the glorious ecosystem that makes Marco Island and the 10,000 everglades truly, truly special", she said. By Sunday morning, streets were flooded and damage was already evident.

"It's disgusting, what we saw", Scott said. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP) Storm clouds associated with the outer bands of Hurricane Irma shroud the downtown skyline Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Tampa, Fla.

The power grid in the US territory of Puerto Rico was so badly damaged that repairs could take months, authorities on the island said.

"It's the worst storm I've ever seen", said South, the NOAA meteorologist.

And in Alabama, some city school districts including Birmingham, Huntsville and Auburn planned to close Monday and in some cases Tuesday.

The storm has been blamed for more than 40 deaths - mostly on the Caribbean Islands, with six dead in Florida and three in Georgia. Last week it killed at least 37 people as it crossed the Caribbean.

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