About 5.8 million without power in US Southeast after Irma - utilities

About 5.8 million without power in US Southeast after Irma - utilities

"Flooding is occurring across Florida with Hurricane Irma, " the National Weather Service tweeted.

It comes as the National Hurricane Center reported that Hurricane Irma's eye was about 80km southeast of Tampa 11pm local Florida time (1pm AEST) and moving at a speed of of 22km/h. This is the longest any cyclone has maintained that intensity on record, according to Phil Klotzbach, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University.

AccuWeather extreme meteorologist Reed Timmer captured Irma's wrath as the storm hit Key West, Florida, and what it looked like after the hurricane. Irma made landfall on Sunday morning as a Category 4 storm at Cudjoe Key, about 75 miles from Key Largo, where the NBC 6 helicopter was flying.

Approximately 25 per cent of the houses on the islands that make up the Florida Keys have been destroyed, while 65 per cent have suffered major damage the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said. He believes southwest Florida is the most impacted but cautions that numbers may rise as "Irma hasn't left".

Almost seven million people in the south-east were warned to get out of harm's way, including 6.4 million in Florida alone.

Sustained winds of more than 200km/h were reported when the storm first made landfall in the Florida Keys on Sunday, but by Monday had dropped to around 130km/h.

MIAMI | After battering its way up Florida's Gulf Coast, Hurricane Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm Monday morning.

Around midday, Irma also spread misery into Georgia and SC as it moved inland with winds at 50 miles per hour.

People in the heavily populated Tampa-St.

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The city appeared to avoid a direct hit from the hurricane, which has claimed three lives in the USA so far, but heavy rain and flooding is still a major threat.

The governor said on Monday that Jacksonville experienced 3 to 5 feet of surge, plus one foot of rainfall, which is causing "record and historical flooding along St. Johns River".

Irma has weakened to a tropical depression, and heavy rainfall is continuing across the southeastern US, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Throughout Florida, 62 percent of the state was without electrical power, affecting about 13 million people, the state Emergency Operations Center said Monday evening.

Numerous hurricane warnings and watches are in effect, including the Tampa Bay region and all of south Florida.

The fate of the Florida Keys, where Irma rumbled through with Category 4 muscle, remains largely a question mark.

Video: Irma pushes water out of old. "I've never seen anything like this in my life", Simonson says. This is a week after jumping more than 15 cents in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. "Stay inside. Stay safe", he added.

"We're not saying get in your vehicle and go", Merrill said.

The storm brought memories of Hurricane Charley, which blew ashore near Fort Myers in 2004 with winds near 149 miles per hour.

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