Weakened Hurricane Irma Takes Aim At Tampa


Monday, September 11th 2017, 3:08 am
By: News On 6


A massive but weakened Hurricane Irma zeroed in on the Tampa Bay region early Monday after hammering much of Florida with roof-ripping winds, gushing floodwaters and widespread power outages.

Irma continued its slog north along Florida's western coast having blazed a path of unknown destruction. With communication cut to some of the Florida Keys, where Irma made landfall Sunday, and rough conditions persisting across the peninsula, many held their breath for what daylight might reveal. 

Irma roared through the Florida Keys on Sunday with punishing winds before pushing its way north, flooding streets, spawning tornadoes, knocking out power to more than 3 million people across the state and snapping massive construction cranes over the Miami skyline.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its 2 a.m. advisory that Irma was about 25 miles northeast of the Tampa-St. Petersburg region would continue moving north over the western Florida peninsula through Monday morning and then into the southeastern United States late Monday and Tuesday. 

Late Sunday afternoon, Irma made landfall on Marco Island as a Category 3 storm. The NHC in Miami said Irma's powerful eye roared ashore at Marco Island just south of Naples with 115 mph winds, for a second U.S. landfall at 3:35 p.m. Sunday. Category 3 storms have winds from 111 to 129 mph, but a 130-mph wind gust was recently reported by the Marco Island Police Department.
There were no confirmed deaths blamed on the storm in the U.S. as of late Sunday evening. The storm left at least 27 people dead as it tore across the Caribbean.
"I know the winds are going to be very devastating and life threatening. But I'm also very concerned about the storm surge," Gov. Rick Scott said on "Face the Nation."

While the projected track showed Irma raking the state's Gulf Coast, forecasters warned that the entire state -- including the Miami metropolitan area of 6 million people -- was in extreme peril because of the sheer size of the storm.

Nearly 7 million people in the Southeast were warned to evacuate, including 6.4 million in Florida alone.

Irma weakened to a Category 1 storm as the massive hurricane zeroed in on the Tampa Bay region early Monday after hammering much of Florida with roof-ripping winds, gushing floodwaters and widespread power outages. 

The hurricane's maximum sustained winds weakened to 85 mph with additional weakening expected.

As of 2 a.m. EDT, the storm was centered about 25 miles northeast of Tampa and moving north-northwest near 15 mph. 

More than 160,000 people waited in shelters statewide early on Monday morning.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.