Eye of Hurricane Irma hits mainland US

Eye of Hurricane Irma hits mainland US

Eye of Hurricane Irma hits mainland US

Written by Ranee Mohamed

11 Sep, 2017 | 8:40 am

The centre of Hurricane Irma has hit mainland Florida, just south of Naples, amid warnings of storm surges as high as 15ft (4.5m).

Irma made landfall on Marco Island off Florida’s west coast with winds of up to 105mph (169km/h) but has since been downgraded from category three to two.

More than 3.4 million homes in the state are without power, and parts of the city of Miami are under water.Three storm-related deaths have been reported, as Irma is moving northwards.

In its latest update at 02:00 GMT Monday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that the hurricane was producing “widespread damaging winds across much of Florida”.

The storm was earlier pummelling the area around the city of Fort Myers.Irma has already devastated parts of the Caribbean, killing at least 28 people.

Some 6.3 million people in Florida had been told to evacuate.

President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration and emergency federal aid for Florida.

He described the hurricane as a “big monster”, praising the federal agencies involved with the storm and saying he would go to the state “very soon”.

“We may have been a little bit lucky in that it went on the west, and it may not have been quite as disruptive, but we’re going to see, it’s going to play out over the next five or six hours,” Mr Trump added.

Where is the storm now?

The storm hit Marco Island at 15:35 local time (19:35 GMT).It is now losing strength, but is expected to remain a hurricane at least until Monday morning, the NHC said.

“On the forecast track, the eye of Irma should move near or over the west coast of the Florida Peninsula through Monday morning.

“Irma should then move inland over northern Florida and south-western Georgia Monday afternoon.”

The NHC earlier tweeted that people in the area of Naples and Marco Island should move away from the coast as storm surges of up to 15ft were possible.

There has been some flooding in the centre of Naples but it is believed to be fresh water.

There is dead calm and people have been out on the streets, but the storm surge is expected to come later.The storm is now heading for the Tampa Bay area, with a population of about three million. The region has not been hit by a major hurricane since 1921.

 

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