Hurricane Irma Damage Estimates Smaller Than Feared

Hurricane warnings in northern Leeward Islands as Jose looms

Hurricane warnings in northern Leeward Islands as Jose looms

Irma, after making landfall Sunday in the Florida Keys and Southwest Florida as a major storm, was downgraded to a tropical storm, with 70 miles per hour winds as it went up the Gulf Coast into North Florida.

As rain and flash flooding continued to strike northern Florida and Georgia, the governor of Florida Rick Scott said it would "take some time" before people could return to their homes.

Though the tropical storm's eye is moving north-northwest, bands of high winds and heavy rain can extend outward for 415 miles.

The warnings pertained mostly to communities along the St. Johns River, where storm surges were expected to push water four to six feet above normal high-tide levels.

Monday | 3 a.m.to 5 a.m.

.

- Strong winds blowing from the northeast have pushed water out of shallow parts of bays and harbors in cities like Tampa and Port Charlotte. Officials closed major bridges. The company has restored power to about 1 million customers so far but CEO Eric Silagy said Monday that "people need to be prepared for some prolonged and extended outages".

The hurricane center expects Irma to continue on a path northward today.

Homes destroyed: About a dozen homes were hit by trees and destroyed in Hillsborough County, where Tampa is located, according to an initial assessment by county officials.

At the very least, the tiny island is back open after bracing for the historic storm, Marco Island Fire Rescue Chief Mike Murphy said Monday.

Hurricane Irma left a deadly wake in the Caribbean islands before slamming into the Florida Keys early Sunday, then pushing north through Florida. "We've got roads that are impassable, so everybody's got to be patient as we work through this".

Daylight brought an opportunity to assess the damage in South Florida, although the full extent of the devastation remains unclear. A day later, it had weakened to a tropical storm, but still brought unsafe storm surge flooding to Jacksonville.

The dual-coast storm has already been blamed for five deaths.

"The curfew will remain in place until we determine there is no risk of [lost] life from downed power lines", Buckhorn said. FEMA chief Brock Long said some areas of South Florida will not have electrical power for weeks.

In Riviera Beach, on Florida's east coast, winds partially ripped roofs off two apartment buildings, forcing rescuers to evacuate about 50 people from the complex, according to CNN.

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