Hurricane Irma shifts, target is now Tampa, Florida

Hurricane Irma shifts, target is now Tampa, Florida

Meteorologists predicted Irma's center would blow ashore Sunday morning in the perilously low-lying Florida Keys, then hug the state's west coast, plowing into the Tampa Bay area by Monday morning. Category 5 is the NHC's most powerful designation.

What's next: Hurricane Jose is following in Irma's path.

While major buildings withstood the winds, reports indicated that there were several downed power lines, toppled trees, debris, littered roads and roofs damaged.

The governor also warned of unsafe storm surge of between 6 2 metres and 4 metres across parts of Florida.

Having already caused massive amounts of destruction, deadly Irma is now pummeling through parts of the Bahamas and Cuba ahead of its scheduled landfall on Florida late Saturday or early Sunday.

Already 31,000 people have fled the Florida Keys chain of islands. "The only flight we could get was to Tampa", she said. "You put your life in your own hands by not evacuating".

It comes after the hurricane killed at least 21 people as it passed over the eastern Caribbean, leaving a path of destruction in its wake.

"We are running out of time".

Florida's governor Rick Scott has ordered 5.6 million people - a quarter of the state's population - to evacuate before the hurricane makes landfall tomorrow morning.

The state asked another 700,000 to evacuate ahead of the storm as the forecast shifted.

He says the storm is "going to go faster than you are".

Hurricane Irma will plow into south Florida this weekend, hitting a region that is home to 7 million people with some of the worst a hurricane can bring-150 mile an hour winds, devastating storm surges and heavy rains.

"Prepare for the worst possible", Trump said Friday as he boarded Marine One, bound for Camp David. According to CBS, there were few gas stations still open in Key West and Marathon as of Friday.

Besides putting local residents in peril, the storm badly damaged more than 50 hotels in the northern Camaguey archipelago, a popular tourist attraction in Cuba.

Mandatory evacuations on Georgia's Atlantic coast and some of South Carolina's barrier islands were due to begin on Saturday. Governor Gus Jaspert has declared a state of emergency.

Andrew was a very compact storm that had damage impacts focused mainly across the southern third of the Florida Peninsula.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 ended slightly lower as investors braced for potential damage and massive insurance claims from Irma.

In the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Katia is making landfall north of Tecolutla, Mexico.

At least 25 people have died since the storm began raking its arms over land, starting with the Caribbean island of Barbuda. "If you're in an evacuation zone, we can not save you in the middle of this storm".

Irma is "an extremely risky major hurricane, and will bring life-threatening wind impacts to much of the state regardless of the exact track of the center", the National Hurricane Center said.



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