Hurricane Irma heading away from Cuba after buffeting coast

Hurricane Irma heading away from Cuba after buffeting coast

In the United States, more than three million homes and businesses have lost power in Florida State as Hurricane Irma moves up the peninsula.

Hurricanes are large swirling storms, characterised by winds that can go up to 119 kilometers per hour (74 mph) or higher.

Florida officials are urging people to stay in their homes and shelters.

- At least 24 deaths have been blamed on Irma in the Caribbean islands, where it hit fast before marching toward Florida.

The storm then headed for Florida's southwestern coast, making landfall again at 3:35 p.m. on Marco Island and weakening to a Category 2 shortly thereafter.

The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane warning for much of West and South Florida, which means the center believes unsafe conditions are imminent. Much of the state's east and west coasts, plus Georgia and parts of SC were still vulnerable to storm surges and forecast to receive up to 41cm of rain as it passed over.

"As Irma moves rapidly toward Florida, we lift up in prayer all of those who may be impacted, asking almighty God to guide the steady hands of first responders and to widen the hearts of all who are able to be generous to neighbors facing danger, grief, or displacement of any kind due to the disaster", he said. Petersburg area by Monday morning. "We're close enough to the ocean where any rain water would have run off".

That city and nearby Naples, Florida, will endure some of the strongest winds in the next few hours, the National Hurricane Center said.

One of the mightiest hurricanes ever to slam storm-prone Florida, Irma is threatening risky storm surges of up to 15 feet (4.5 meters), enough to cover a house, as it collides with the state after sowing devastation through the Caribbean.

Hurricane Irma heading away from Cuba after buffeting coast

Ports in Tampa and Miami - which, Scott said, are the primary ways fuel is transported to the state - were closed because of the storm. The hurricane struck Miami with huge force, causing widespread flooding across the city. Rather, once the eye passes north of them, vicious west winds on the bottom side of the storm will drive Gulf of Mexico waters inland - this storm surge will be very destructive.

"You can't survive these storm surges", he said.

Irma, which prompted one of the largest evacuations in U.S. history, is expected to cause billions of dollars in damage to the third-most-populous USA state, a major tourism hub, with an economy comprising about 5 percent of USA gross domestic product.

Florida Power and Light estimated 3.4 million of its customers could be without power at some point during Irma, the company's largest number of outages ever.

In Miami, one of two dozen construction cranes looming over the skyline collapsed atop a high-rise in Irma's winds.

After Irma, now it's Hurricane Jose that is set to slam into the island. This will be the first direct hit by a hurricane on the Tampa area in almost a century.

"If you didn't evacuate the Keys, you're on your own until we can actually get in there and it's safe", he told CNN Saturday.

As of 2100 AEST, the hurricane was centred about 25km south-southeast of Key West, Florida, and was moving northwest at 13km/h. Affected states include Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina.



Other news