Friday, 22 September, 2017

Storm Irma pushes Florida Keys towards 'humanitarian crisis'

Geoff Rutland a local volunteer from Crossing Jordan Church helps other residents get ice from a vending machine on September 10 in Tampa Florida where residents are fleeing the evacuation zones ahead of Hurricane Irma's landfall Storm Irma pushes Florida Keys towards 'humanitarian crisis'
Dexter Carr | 13 September, 2017, 00:21

The eye of Hurricane Irma has moved out of the Lakeland area and is pushing toward Zephyrhills and eastern Pasco County.

Irma is moving toward the north-northwest near 17 miles per hour, and a turn toward the northwest is expected by Tuesday morning. It gradually weakened to a tropical storm on Monday and a post-tropical cyclone by Tuesday morning.

Irma, which was downgraded to a tropical storm on Monday, is centred about 170km north-northwest of Tampa area of Florida, with sustained winds of about 110km/h as of 9:00 am local time (13:00 GMT). Winds have snapped power lines and 72 percent of homes there are without electricity, officials say.

"I just hope everybody survived", he said. That is perhaps more favorable than the previous advisory that projected the hurricane approaching the East Coast on more of a western path.

The most severe storm surge in Jacksonville hit the downtown, Riverside, San Marco and other neighborhoods as high tides filled in the St. Johns River, well after the storm passed through Florida. Last week it killed at least 37 people as it crossed the Caribbean.

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It was hard to get detailed information on the condition of the island chain where Irma first came ashore over the weekend because communication and access were all but cut off by the storm's arrival as a Category 4 hurricane. Early on Tuesday, the remnants of Irma were blowing through Alabama and MS after drenching Georgia.

José is forecast to loop around itself through the end of the week, so that by Friday, the center of the storm is pretty much back to where we are today. Roads were flooded, but city spokesman Zachery Good said the majority of Homestead's mobile homes were spared destruction.

The risk of storm surge flooding extends northward to the coasts of Georgia and SC today, too.

Andrew was the most destructive hurricane to ever hit the state. The storm has 60 miles per hour sustained winds with stronger gusts possible.

It is not known how the Florida citrus industry forecast will be impacted by the weather system, with the first official forecast of the season due on 12 October.

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