Hurricane Irma weakening but still presents a threat to life, say forecasters


As Hurricane Irma continues to move north through Florida after making landfall on the state's west coast Sunday afternoon, an executive from Florida Power & Light estimated that it could "take weeks" to restore power to some parts of the state. "This was a king tide, so with that king tide and the storm surge, plus the heavy amount of rain that came in, there is considerable flooding".

The company has restored power to about 1 million customers so far but CEO Eric Silagy said Monday that "even though we are restoring power, people need to be prepared for some prolonged and extended outages".

- Storm surge warnings in Florida, Georgia and SC mean "there is a danger of life-threatening inundation", the hurricane center said.

Thankfully, Freeman said he and his family were all safe after the storm passed, but "it is still hard".

"I know for our entire state, especially the Keys, it's going to be a long road", governor Rick Scott said. The Florida Keys and Tampa Bay also is under a warning. 12,500 flights to or from Florida were canceled due to the storm.

Residents returning to the Florida Keys archipelago have found Hurricane Irma shredded mobile homes like soda cans and coated businesses with seaweed.

The storm has slowly weakened as it traveled up the Florida coast, and was officially downgraded on Monday morning to a tropical storm.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told an investor conference in NY that the storm would ultimately boost the economy by sparking rebuilding. "So everybody's got to be patient as we work through this", he said. "As we rebuild, that will help GDP".

Big airports in Florida remain closed, and flight cancellations are spreading along the track of Tropical Storm Irma outside Florida.

Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa.

Mark DeMaria, deputy acting director of the National Hurricane Center, said there have been numerous reports of hurricane force winds throughout Miami-Dade most of the morning, with gusts picking up in Broward.

One man in SC was killed by a falling tree limb and another died in a traffic accident, officials said. Its outer bands were also blowing into Georgia, where the storm's center was expected to arrive later in the day. They're only part of this year's unusually active hurricane season.