Irma Prompts 1st Ever Tropical Storm Warning For Atlanta

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Deputy Police Chief Luis Cabrera told the Miami Herald the officers went to the Shops at Midtown on Sunday afternoon as the winds of Hurricane Irma were at their strongest in South Florida.

But it is still believed Irma will make landfall in Florida as an extremely risky major hurricane that likely will be able to maintain near Category 5 winds if the center stays off the west coast of Florida where it will be partly over the warm Gulf of Mexico waters.

Storm surge along the coast could be as high as 15 feet in some areas, including from Cape Sable to Captiva.

The clouds that spawned a few tornadoes off the east coast of Florida also are expected to do the same in SC. The entire state of Florida looks to be impacted by Irma, except for maybe the western panhandle with life threatening wind hazards, flash flooding, tornadoes and storm surge along the coast.

Senterfitt told a teleconference a large airborne relief operation was being prepared by the Air Force and Air National Guard to take help to the chain of islands, which are linked by a dramatic series of bridges and causeways from Key Largo nearly 100 miles (160 km) southwest to the picturesque town of Key West.

Irma's center was about 105 miles north of Tampa when forecasters announced it had weakened to a tropical storm.

As Irma has fallen apart, its wind field has expanded, Okulski said.

In one of the largest United States evacuations, almost seven million people in the south east were warned to seek shelter elsewhere, including 6.4 million in Florida alone. Forecasters predicted winds up to 60 miles per hour (95 kph) on Monday morning with gusts possibly reaching hurricane force of 75 miles per hour (120 kph).

Florida peninsula. Increasing southwesterly shear associated with an upper-level trough should also cause weakening of the hurricane during the next day or so. Some 6.5 million people, about a third of the state's population, had been ordered to evacuate southern Florida to shelters, hotels or relatives in safer areas. Now, radar shows the hurricane traveling farther west. He still had power. "We've got to work hard to get them their power back". "And then, I think we're OK, knock on wood".

The airport tweeted late Sunday that it needs to assess the damage before deciding whether passenger flights can resume Tuesday.

WSB-TV's Katie Walls said all of north Georgia could see 3-7 inches of rain, which could cause creeks and streams to rise, as well as ponding on local roadways.

Cuban state television reported severe damage to hotels on the northern keys off Ciego de Avila and Camaguey provinces.

A state of emergency has been declared in Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia, as well as in Florida. Heavy rain and tropical-storm force winds are also possible across much of SC, leading to flooding and power outages.

"We went to rescue a couple in a flooded housing development", Easter said. "It's like being on a ship".

Major streets remained under water in cities from Miami to Jacksonville, with even more roads snarled by debris. Thousands of flights were canceled.

The hurricane was originally expected to hit the Miami area, but a westward shift Saturday saw it bearing down on Tampa with winds of up to 200 kilometres per hour.

Over the next two days, Irma is expected to push to the northwest, into Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.

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