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South Florida feels first signs of Hurricane Irma
September 10, 2017, 10:43 am

Florida experienced the first signs of monster Hurricane Irma Saturday, as tropical force winds and rain left thousands without electricity and officials urging residents to flee to safety. Hurricane watches and tropical storm warnings extended from parts of Florida to coastal Georgia and South Carolina, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported late Saturday.

Wind gusts of over 70 miles per hour were reported in the Florida Keys, where Irma is expected to strike hardest. Hurricane Irma is considered one of the strongest storms on record.

Nearly seven million people are under evacuation orders by state emergency management officials in parts of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

Officials in Florida on Saturday ordered 700,000 more residents to evacuate their homes ahead of the storm. "This is a deadly storm and our state has never seen anything like it," Florida Governor Rick Scott said at a news conference, adding "Once the storm starts, law enforcement cannot save you." The NHC downgraded Irma to a Category three storm with maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour. Forecasters warn the storm could strengthen as it moves away from Cuba toward South Florida, where it is expected to make landfall by early Sunday. Once it arrives, it is likely to bring with it damaging winds, rains, flooding and possibly tornadoes. The White House announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency was leading coordination efforts to affected states and territories.

"The President and First Lady are keeping all the people impacted by hurricanes Harvey and Irma in their thoughts and prayers," according to a statement by the White House.

The Pentagon has reported "significant" levels of destruction throughout the Caribbean, including the U.S. Virgin Islands. In a statement, the Pentagon says it is continuing its response to the monster Hurricane. Over 7,00 National Guards men have been called to serve in preparation of the storm's destruction. Following behind Irma, Hurricane Jose churned away from a strong of Caribbean islands towards the open Atlantic.

According to the NHC, Jose, a Category four storm, is expected to pass north of the outer Caribbean Islands, many of which were devastated by Irma. 

Source: KUNA

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