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RIGHT NOW: Eye of Hurricane Irma moving toward eastern Pasco County

12 September 2017

The Islamorada Brewing Company sits vacant and boarded up in Islamorada, FL.

The hurricane, one of the strongest storms ever recorded on the Atlantic, has already killed at least 24 people in the Caribbean islands, according to CNN, and at least four deaths have already been reported in Florida.

Hurricane Irma weakened as it pummeled Florida - but the storm still packed a powerful punch, spawning torrential downpours, tornadoes and flash floods.

Hurricane Irma 11 a.m. Advisory
Hurricane Irma 11 a.m. Advisory

Gov. Rick Scott says the entire west coast of Florida will likely see unsafe affects from storm surge as Hurricane Irma comes ashore Sunday. Cuban officials have shut off power to many parts of the nation and evacuated 10,000 people from Havana, the capital of Cuba.

The mayor of Tampa is starkly warning his city's 377,000 residents to get ready for Hurricane Irma's wrath. With this northerly track, we'll still likely see some impacts here in Mid-Missouri. Damage estimates from Hurricane Irma's battering of Florida over the weekend look smaller than first feared.

Sand covers Ft Lauderdale Beach Blvd. after Hurricane Irma blew though Ft. Leon County, which includes Tallahassee, issued a voluntary countywide evacuation order on Saturday. Florida is the nation's third largest state with almost 21 million residents.

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White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Sunday the president also spoke with the governors of Alabama, Georgia and SC. Although the storm has long since departed the Keys, some of the islands are so devastated - mainly, Key Largo, which is blocking access to those Keys further west - that Florida authorities refuse to allow residents to reenter.

Hurricane Irma was moving over the Florida Keys early Sunday morning, as wind speeds increased and forecasters with the National Weather Service upgraded Irma back to Category 4.

The massive storm measured more than 400 miles wide, and its winds reached 130 mph.

Floridians assess damages as weakening Hurricane Irma heads north
An initial estimate from Moody's Analytics on Monday projected property destruction from Irma between $64 billion and $92 billion. That's because some islands are extremely hard to access. "What we feared the most was the surge", he said Monday on MSNBC .

"What's scary is the unbelievable storm surge potentially in my own town, 15 feet of storm surge above ground level".

Brad Whitworth of Texas is riding the storm out in Tavernier, Florida, just south of Key Largo. Had the centre of Irma hit Florida 32-50 kilometres to the east "it would have been much worse".

US President Donald Trump, acting at the governor's request, approved a major disaster declaration for Florida on Sunday, freeing up emergency federal aid in response to Irma, which he called "some big monster". Remaining efforts to secure properties should now be brought to completion.

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RIGHT NOW: Eye of Hurricane Irma moving toward eastern Pasco County