As Irma pushes inland, daylight expected to reveal destruction

TAMPA, Fla. — A weakened however nonetheless harmful Irma pushed inland Monday because it hammered Florida with winds that created hazards for rescuers and flooding that set a document in at the very least one metropolis.

Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm over Florida, nevertheless it nonetheless had winds close to hurricane drive. Its outer bands have been additionally blowing into Georgia, the place the storm’s middle was anticipated to reach later within the day. With tough circumstances persisting throughout Florida, many communities in Irma’s wake feared what destruction can be revealed as daylight allowed authorities to canvass neighborhoods.

Storm surge flooding in downtown Jacksonville exceeded a document set throughout a 1965 hurricane by a minimum of 1 foot, based on the Nationwide Climate Service. A river gauge downtown within the Atlantic Coast metropolis measured 5 ft above flood stage.

“Transfer to larger floor now,” the climate service warned individuals close to the St. Johns River.

To the south, winds knocked a utility pole and energy strains onto a sheriff’s cruiser late Sunday in Polk County, illustrating the damaging circumstances for emergency personnel. A deputy and a paramedic, who had simply escorted an aged affected person to security, have been trapped for 2 hours till a crew might free them. Each have been unharmed.

And greater than one hundred twenty houses have been being evacuated early Monday in Orange County, simply outdoors the town of Orlando, as floodwaters began to pour in. Firefighters and the Nationwide Guard have been going door-to-door and utilizing boats to ferry households to security. A number of miles away, 30 others needed to be evacuated when a 60-foot sinkhole opened up underneath an condominium constructing. No accidents have been reported in both case.

In Redington Shores west of Tampa, lawyer Carl Roberts spent a sleepless night time driving out Irma in his seventeenth flooring beachfront apartment. After dropping energy late Sunday, he made it by way of the worst of the storm shaken however unharmed.

“The hurricane winds lashed the shutters violently, all through the night time,” he wrote in a textual content message, “making sleep unimaginable.”

As morning broke, he couldn’t open the electrical shutters to see outdoors.

“It’s so darkish in right here,” he stated.

Almost four.5 million houses and companies throughout Florida misplaced energy, and utility officers stated it can take weeks to revive electrical energy to everybody. Greater than one hundred,000 have been at midnight in Georgia.

Irma’s middle was about a hundred and five miles north of Tampa when forecasters introduced it had weakened to a tropical…

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