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Hurricane Jose twists in Atlantic
14 Setiembre 2017, 06:51 | Crisanna Felipe
Hurricane Irma regained strength as it closed in on the Florida Keys early Sunday and forecasters monitored a crucial shift in its trajectory - just a few more miles to the west - that could keep its ferocious eye off the southwest Florida coast and over warm gulf water. City officials urged residents to stay off the streets.
After flying over the Keys on Monday, the governor described overturned mobile homes, washed-ashore boats and other damage. Long says that in some cases water begins to rise and people get trapped. "I cooked a frozen pizza because it was about to go bad", he said, referring to his experience during Wilma.
And that's what was forecast for a several-hour spell Sunday morning: catastrophic storm surges, hours of 130 mph (209 kph) winds and massive destruction. It has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, but is still considered unsafe.
"Power, power, power", Florida Gov. Rick Scott said recently.
The westward shift prompted Pinellas County, home to St. Petersburg, to order 260,000 people to leave, while Georgia scaled back evacuation orders for some coastal residents. The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority was advising residents to boil their tap water, if they have any.
"They have told us that we have to wait until the first people to be impacted get their lines fixed, so we don't know how long we have to wait", said petrol station worker Desi as he surveyed the damage at his Melbourne business.
"We're starting to get a sense that there's going to be a huge humanitarian mission there".
As the storm's spiral bands walloped Central and Northern Florida, the potential for tornadoes arose in the swirling air, and the Weather Service issued watches and scores of warnings. USA officials have said some 10,000 Keys residents stayed put when the storm hit and may ultimately need to be evacuated.
"At its height, the storm generated a almost 10-foot tide", the Post and Courier reports. Very significant river flooding is coming. A king tide, as it's known colloquially, is an especially high tide that coincides with a full moon.
An aircraft carrier was positioned off Key West to help in the search-and-rescue effort.
Hurricane Irma's winds tore up the roof of a gas station in Bonita Springs Fla. as seen in this
The number of homes and businesses that were without power in multiple states, as of midday Monday. It gradually weakened as it headed through the state, becoming a tropical storm and then a tropical depression on Monday.
Seven deaths in Florida have been blamed on Irma, along with two in Georgia and two in SC.
There have already been six named hurricanes this season: Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irma, Jose and Katia.
Deal called the storm an "unusual" in that it affected the entire state, rather than being localized. But even in the Upper Keys, "water, power, sewer, fuel, medical service and cell service, are still limited", according to Monroe County.
Last week, Irma ranked as one of the most powerful hurricanes ever documented in the Atlantic, one of only a handful of Category 5 storms known to have packed sustained winds at 185 miles per hour (297 kph) or more.
Those with power restored include more than 300,000 customers in metro Atlanta.
There were no immediate reports of deaths in Florida. At least 37 people were killed in the Caribbean.
Over the past two days, there have been four different alligator sightings in the West Palm Beach area where PG&E lineman are assisting Florida Light and Power as part of a cross-country mutual aid agreement.
Irma bullied through much of the Caribbean - Antigua, St Martin, St Barts, Anguilla, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas.
In Charlotte Harbor, the second largest bay in Florida, Dylan Branscome posted a video on Facebook showing dry, sandy landscape as if the bay had evaporated.
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More than 3.3 million homes and businesses - and counting - have lost power in Florida as Hurricane Irma moves up the peninsula. A storm surge warning wraps around the Florida coast as concerns over a surge of as much as 15 feet could occur along the coast.