Hurricane Jose remains a unsafe Category 4 storm

Hurricane Jose remains a unsafe Category 4 storm

In Redington Shores west of Tampa, attorney Carl Roberts spent a sleepless night riding out Irma in his 17th floor beachfront condo. He said Irma was unsafe and life-threatening. "This is when we are Tampa strong".

After what she called a terrifying night bunkered in her house in St. Petersburg, on Florida's Gulf Coast, with her children and extended family, Julie Hally emerged with relief on Monday.

FPL's Chief Executive Eric Silagy told the LA Times the storm had caused the most damage the company had ever seen in its history.

In the dark: Most of the city (72%) is without power, the mayor said. Some homes and businesses could be without power for weeks, especially in the hardest-hit areas like southwest Florida, the NextEra Energy Inc unit said.

Torrential rain, power outages and 130-mph winds buffeted Florida and the Caribbean over the last several days.

The monster storm, which arrived in Florida as a Category 4 hurricane, has toppled at least three constructions cranes - two over downtown Miami and one in Fort Lauderdale.

No deaths in Florida were immediately linked to the storm.

Before it weakened and headed to the United States, Irma hit Cuba's Ciego de Avila province late Friday as a Category 5 hurricane. At least 34 people were killed in the Caribbean as the storm closed in on the USA mainland.

As Irma loomed and came ashore, gasoline stations struggled to keep up as people evacuated Florida.

He said Irma will "cost a lot of money" but that he's most concerned at this point with saving lives. Thousands of people in the Caribbean fought desperately to find shelter or escape their storm-blasted islands, and more than 6 million people in Florida and Georgia were warned to leave their homes. "It was was like, 'Oh my God, what is going to happen?'"

The leading edge of the huge storm bent palm trees and spit rain across South Florida, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses, as the eye approached Key West. Monday offered a mixed forecast for Miami-Dade County - gusts of winds of up to 50 miles per hour in the early morning hours, with a sunny upper 80s temperature day predicted and the possibility of showers and thunderstorms.

- Two tornadoes touched down in Brevard County, destroying mobile homes in their path, officials said.

Meanwhile, north of Florida, states were also preparing for Irma's arrival.

Almost 7 million people in the Southeast were warned to evacuate, including 6.4 million in Florida alone.

In Florida, 51 of 178 gauges in the state were at flood stages on Monday with some of the worst floods in Jacksonville, where the St Johns and Cedar rivers hit record flood levels on Monday.

Irma was ranked a Category 5, the rare top end of the scale of hurricane intensity, for days, and carried maximum sustained winds of up to 185 miles per hour (295 kph) when it crashed into the island of Barbuda on Wednesday.

Irma, however, continued to be a threat as it crossed the northern part of the state and because of lingering storm surges along both coasts.

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