Hurricane Irma Downgraded To Tropical Storm Amid Severe Flooding

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Hurricane Irma Downgraded To Tropical Storm Amid Severe Flooding

Irma is now a tropical storm - but it still poses severe flooding threats across Florida and into neighboring states.

As of 8:00AM local time (10:00PM AEST), Irma's centre was about 169km north-northwest of Tampa and about 48km north-northeast of Cedar Key. More than 30,000 customers are without power in the Columbus area, and Georgia Power has advised local emergency personnel that they will not be sending out crews to fix damaged lines while the weather is poor.

But Irma isn't done yet.

Tropical storm force winds are forecast to reach the Islands by Thursday night, and will lash Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas by Friday night.

Rain and winds have subsided in Florida, but the state is still reeling from the storm's destruction. Heavy rainfall is also expected in parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Kentucky, while overloaded rivers are likely to continue flooding across much of Florida, as well as in Georgia and eastern Alabama.

Several major airports in Florida that halted passenger operations due to Irma will begin limited service on Tuesday, including Miami International, one of the nation's busiest airports.

At 6pm GMT, its centre had moved into southern Georgia, the National Hurricane Center said.

Irma made landfall on Florida's mainland on Marco Island with 115 miles per hour winds.

Isolated tornadoes will be possible, especially over portions of east central Georgia.

Officials in Jacksonville issued a flash flood emergency yesterday.

An incredible shot of Irma's eye as seen from the Sentinel-2A satellite on 9 September 2017.

Daylight brought an opportunity to assess the damage in South Florida, although the full extent of the devastation remains unclear. At least five people died of storm-related injuries in Florida as the massive hurricane barreled across the Sunshine State.

Coastal communities reported rising flood waters in streets, three Miami construction cranes fell and a sewage pump in Hialeah failed.

"We've never had that many outages, and I don't think any utility in the country ever has", FPL Chief Executive Eric Silagy said at a news conference on Monday, as the news agency reported. A huge airborne relief mission was dispatched yesterday to assist with recovery efforts.

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