First Look at Damage From Irma-Slammed Fla. Keys

Hurricane Irma Has Made Landfall in Florida [Updating]

Hurricane Irma Has Made Landfall in Florida [Updating]

Irma made its second USA landfall at Marco Island at about 3:30 p.m.

Hurricane Irma has weakened to a tropical storm after causing widespread damage on Caribbean islands and the USA state of Florida.

At 5:00 AM ET on Monday morning, the National Hurricane Center downgraded Irma to a Category 1 storm, though it continues to batter Northern Florida with heavy rains and sustained wind speeds of 75 miles per hour at its center.

Expected to be even more unsafe than the powerful winds are the storm surges that threaten Florida's coastal cities.

Meanwhile, some viewers were questioning the reporters' decision to stay out in the storm. Irma first hit the islands called the Florida Keys early Sunday, when the storm was at its greatest strength.

Hurricane Irma has been downgraded to a tropical storm, but it still packs a punch as it moves inland into the United States after a devastating hit on Florida and the Caribbean. That's 64 percent of the state's power customers, and there are several counties where 80-90 percent of customers are without power. A storm surge near those cities caused high ocean waves to flood streets and homes.

The TV news organizations continue to report live from Florida and other areas being affected by Hurricane Irma.

Some 6.5 million people, about a third of the state's population, had been ordered to evacuate southern Florida as the storm approached the U.S. mainland after pummelling Cuba with 36ft-tall (11m) waves and ravaging several smaller Caribbean islands. "This is an extremely unsafe and life-threatening situation", the National Weather Service said as the storm closed in a second time near Naples.

The storm continues to threaten northern Florida, the Carolinas and Georgia with heavy rain and wind as well as storm surges of up to six feet.

Most traffic lights in Broward County, which includes Fort Lauderdale, were not functioning on Monday morning, and sand, blown from the county's beaches, covered the A1A highway.

Walt Disney World theme park near Orlando, Florida, closed on Saturday due to the storm and was scheduled to remain shut down through Monday, according to the park's website.

"It's now a tropical storm and then it's going to become a depression and, by the time it gets here, it's going to be just remnants, just moisture associated with it", said Andy Roche, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston, on Monday morning. Utility crews were already on the streets there clearing downed trees and utility lines.

Irma prompted the largest evacuation in USA history of 7 million residents, or 30%, of Florida's population, according to Accuweather.

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