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Irma weakens but continues to batter Florida

Maximum sustained winds have decreased to 75 miles per hour as of 5:00 a.m. ET  as Irma was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane Monday....


Maximum sustained winds have decreased to 75 miles per hour as of 5:00 a.m. ET  as Irma was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane Monday. The powerful storm continues to blaze its disastrous path through Florida, where more than six million people had been ordered to flee in one of the biggest evacuations in US history.

The massive storm's center was forecast to move near the northwestern coast of Florida before crossing into the state of Georgia later into Monday. The National Hurricane Center cautioned that tornadoes remained possible in northeast Florida as well as southeast parts of Georgia and South Carolina into the evening.

Warnings of "life-threatening" storm surges remained in place in several areas of south and central Florida, including the heavily populated Tampa Bay region.

"As little as six inches of moving water can knock you down," tweeted the state's governor Rick Scott following Irma's downgrade.

"Stay inside. Stay safe," he added. "The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded."
After wreaking a trail of death and destruction through the Caribbean, Irma killed three people when it struck the southern Florida Keys island chain as a powerful Category 4 storm on Sunday.

More than four million customers were without power throughout the state, according to Florida's Division of Emergency Management. Florida Power and Light said it had "safely shut down" one of two nuclear reactors at its Turkey Point power plant.

Handfuls of holdout residents, having defied calls to evacuate, hunkered down as Irma tore over the Keys, ripping boats from their moorings, flattening palm trees and downing power lines across the island chain popular for fishing and scuba diving.

Hours later, one of the mightiest hurricanes ever to slam the state made a second landfall on Marco Island near the beach resort of Naples.

"I am concerned about people that don't believe in the storm surge," said Virginia Defreeuw, 76, who had fled her mobile home in Naples to a shelter. "You need to be afraid of the storm surge! People are not listening."

read more here  https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-09-11/irma-weakens-continues-batter-florida

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