National Hurricane Center: Irma makes landfall in Florida Keys - 9AM


Hurricane Irma has weakened into Tropical Storm Irma as it moves north and away from Florida, but the threat of heavy rainfall and strong gusts will continue across Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.

A view over the aftermath of Hurricane Irma over the Florida Keys.

The storm was passing north of the Leeward Islands at 2 p.m. ET Saturday, the hurricane center said, and was moving northwest at 13 miles per hour.

As of 6 a.m., over 5.7 million customers were without power in Florida - that's roughly 58 per cent of all customers in the state.

Irma made landfall on the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane Sunday, but the full extent of the damage there is still unknown.

The Tampa Bay area has not taken a direct hit from a major hurricane since 1921, when its population was about 10,000, National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said.

President Donald Trump has released emergency federal aid for Florida, describing the hurricane as a "big monster".

"The eye wall was just so drastic that that was the fear - he who gets that is really going to catch the bullet - and the [Florida] Keys caught it and they are decimated", he said.

Speaking on "Fox News Sunday" as Irma began its assault on Florida on Sunday morning, Long called the storm a "complex event" in particular because of its movement from the southern part of the state to the north. Now around 3 million people live there.

Many areas in the Florida Keys are still without power.

And while you are welcomed to blame climate change for Irma herself, the Washington Post should be blamed for the hurricane bullseye-ing Tampa and St. Petersburg.

At its St Lucie nuclear plant located about 120 miles (190 km) north of Miami, FPL started to reduce power at Unit 1 due to salt buildup from Irma in the switchyard, NRC spokesman Roger Hannah said.

On Monday, insurance companies rallied after initial reports from Florida revealed less damage than expected.

"All of us at FPL are now making final preparations for the landfall of Hurricane Irma", said FPL officials.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Miami International Airport were closed on Monday.

The Tampa skyline is seen in the background as local residents (L-R) Rony Ordonez, Jean Dejesus, and Henry Gallego take photographs after walking into Hillsborough Bay ahead of Hurricane Irma in Tampa, Florida on September 10, 2017.