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Hurricane Irma hits Florida Keys hard, now headed toward Florida mainland

17 Setiembre 2017

When Irma reaches Florida, it will be the state's strongest hurricane strike since Hurricane Charley made landfall as a Category 4 storm in 2004, according to the Weather Channel.

Three more people were killed by falling objects or drowning, pushing the death toll to 10 in Cuba and at least 24 others in the region.

"On the forecast track, the eye of Irma should move over the Lower Florida Keys in the next few hours", the National Hurricane Center wrote.

And almost the entire state of Florida is under a hurricane warning, affecting at least 36 million people. It gradually weakened to a Category 3 storm as it bumped along the island's northern coastline, flooding streets and sending waves crashing over sea walls.

Klotzbach looked at hurricane center storm surge maps splashed with bright yellows and reds and said Naples made him especially nervous. It was likely to regain Category 4 status before striking Florida, said NHC spokesman Dennis Feltgen.

Atlantic hurricane activity is usually lowered by El Niño, the Associated Press reported.

"Pray, pray for everybody in Florida", Governor Rick Scott said on Fox News.

But unlike with Harvey, dangerous winds will barely abate once Irma makes landfall on Sunday morning.

It's thought that was many as 1.3 million people are now without power as a result of the storm.

So instead, Fischer boarded up the windows of her north Naples home, scrawling a message for the impending storm: "Irma, go away!"

"I think Miami is more prepared than New York for something like that", Magalhaes said. Elsewhere, winds toppled trees and utility polls or ripped apart roofs.

- Police in North Miami Beach, Florida, said they'd used an armored personnel carrier to rescue a mother and her 4-month-old child from their flooded home. "This was the strongest storm Caibarien ever had".

"To clarify, DO NOT shoot weapons @ #Irma".

"It's going to be very eerie on Sunday when, if it's projected to hit at that point, that we're in the middle of playing a ballgame", Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

With about 3 million people, the Tampa Bay metropolitan area is the second-most populous in the state.

Residents in the Keys have been warned for days that they must pack up and leave before Irma hits.

Sorry to pour cold water on all the finger-wagging, but, guys, come on.

Rubio acknowledged some people had fled their homes only to arrive in areas expected to be in the storm's path, but he advised people in that situation to hunker down. "She's tracking us, that feisty minx", Cardona said by phone. Hurricane Irma could cause insurance losses of between $15 billion and $50 billion in the United States, catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide said.

While Irma was centered about 30 miles south-southhwest of Key West around 6 a.m., there were sustained winds of 130 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Irma hits Florida Keys hard, now headed toward Florida mainland