Hurricane Irma climbs Florida coast, risky storm surges feared

Hurricane Irma climbs Florida coast, risky storm surges feared

Less than a half inch of rain is expected in Upstate this week.

Tallahassee, Fla. - (News Service of Florida) Florida was approved Sunday for federal disaster relief as the powerful, wide and deadly Hurricane Irma made its second landfall of the day. Since then, Irma has been weakening, but continues to wreck havoc across the peninsula and into Georgia as it tracks north. The reason she stayed is because her home is newer and is up on higher elevation and can withstand hurricane force winds. Schools in the state planned to close Monday.

Trump also spoke by phone Sunday morning with the governors of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, Sanders said.

Gov. Rick Scott, who spent the days before the storm hit beseeching the islands' residents to evacuate, said Monday that he is flying down to the Keys to survey the damage. "It's awful, what we saw", Scott said.

Irma has been blamed for three deaths in Florida, one in Georgia, and at least 36 in the Caribbean.

The total number of customers, representing about 13 million people, dipped from a peak of more than 7.4 million customers late on Monday. "The current forecast has Irma dumping up to 6" of rain (possibly more in isolated spots) in parts of Georgia and SC.

Before hammering the U.S., Irma wreaked havoc in the Caribbean, leaving dozens of people dead and causing major damage to several islands. The storm damaged about 95% of the buildings on the island, said Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of the nation of Antigua and Barbuda. The lethal storm claimed at least 3 lives in South Florida as it hit Key West.

"We saw a lot of boats washed ashore and we saw any, basically, any trailer park there overturned", Scott continued, adding that water, sewage and electricity had all been knocked out. Mobile-home communities in East Naples were among the hardest hit. The National Guard also has arrived in the island chain amid official fears that a humanitarian crisis may be developing in the stricken region.

Maximum sustained winds had decreased to 136.8kmh as of 2am local time, with Irma projected to become a tropical storm as it moved into northern Florida or southern Georgia later yesterday.

"HELP IS ON THE WAY", they promised on Facebook.

On the west coast of Florida, drone footage from Naples, a town on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico about 200km to the north-west, shows rows of shattered suburban homes on streets under water. There are almost 80,000 residents on the Keys, and about 10,000 rode out the storm, the Pentagon said Monday.

- Strong winds blowing from the northeast have pushed water out of shallow parts of bays and harbors in cities like Tampa and Port Charlotte.

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