DoD: About 10000 possibly stranded in Florida Keys

Rescue workers in Cuba are shown wrapping dolphins in wet blankets before transporting them to safety

Duke's outages held around 1.2 million on Monday evening, while Emera's Tampa Electric utility said outages eased to about 320,000 from a peak earlier on Monday of over 330,000.

Hurricane Irma has been downgraded to a tropical storm, but it still packs a punch as it moves inland into the United States after a devastating hit on Florida and the Caribbean.

"Life-threatening storm surge is occurring now in the Keys and is expected to begin this morning in Southwest Florida", Florida Gov. Rick Scott tweeted early Sunday.

The hurricane was downgraded to a Category 1 storm on Monday, as it moved north of Tampa at 18 miles per hour with sustained winds of 75 miles per hour, reported USA Today.

Last week, Irma had ranked as one of the most powerful hurricanes ever documented in the Atlantic, one of only a handful of Category 5 storms known to have packed sustained winds at 185 miles per hour or more. "You will not survive this storm surge".

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Department In addition to several of the city's major bridges, the airport had also closed as officials worked to reestablish operations.

Overall, FPL has more than 3.5 million homes and businesses - and counting - have lost power in Florida as Hurricane Irma moves up the peninsula.

In Florida, 51 of 178 gauges in the state were at flood stages on Monday with some of the worst floods in Jacksonville, in the northeastern part of the state, where the St. Johns and Cedar rivers hit record flood levels on Monday. Nonetheless, barrier islands like Marco Island, near Naples, reported rising flood water and a loss of electricity and drinking water, authorities said.

In Miami Beach, streets were already submerged after torrential rain.

Over the past 100 years, the islands have been struck by a hurricane an average of one every 4.5 years - most disastrously on Labor Day weekend of 1935, when a nameless storm with 200 miles per hour winds killed as many as 485 people and an entire railroad, the Keys extension of the the Florida East Coast Railway, which was totally wrecked and never rebuilt.

"I didn't see the damage I thought I would see", he reported. "When Americans are in need, Americans pull together and we are one country". "I don't have any numbers on fatalities at this point".

"I'm just thanking God to be alive", Gilleece said.

A piece of a McDonald's "golden arch" sign hung in a tree near the fast-food restaurant in the central Florida city of Kissimmee on Monday morning.

Video images from northern and eastern Cuba showed uprooted utility poles and signs, many downed trees and extensive damage to roofs.

The Cuban government reported on Monday that 10 people had been killed after Irma battered the island's north coast with ferocious winds and 36-foot (11-meter) waves over the weekend. Over 75 special needs shelters are housing more than 12,700 people, said Scott's office. FEMA chief Brock Long said some areas of South Florida will not have electrical power for weeks.

Tornadoes could also spin up in coastal areas from northeastern Georgia to southeastern SC, where a tornado watch was in effect. Forecasters warned that Irma remained extremely unsafe as the monster storm toppled trees and power lines, peeled tiles off roofs and threatened coastal areas with storm surges of up to 15 feet (4.6 m).

Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna was closely monitoring the situation, officials said.

At least 26 people were arrested for burglary and looting Sunday night in Miami, and schools, airports and Orlando's DisneyWorld were on the list of closures.

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