Beyond The Forecast: Hurricane Irma Will Miss New England

Cesar Mills
September 13, 2017

More than 270,000 people were without electricity, Florida Power & Light, a power utility company, said on its website.

Originally, Miami was expected to bear the brunt of the storm once it hit Florida - but by Saturday morning, the storm's trajectory had shifted westward, with Tampa, the Gulf Coast, and other parts of South Florida (including the Florida Keys) in line for the worst effects.

At 11 p.m., Irma's maximum winds had increased slightly to around 120 mph, with hurricane-force winds extending outward from the eye for 70 miles.

Ahead of the storm, officials in Florida had ordered a total of 6.3 million people, or about a third of the state's population, to evacuate.

Meanwhile, residents in the Caribbean have begun the slow and painful process of rebuilding their lives after Irma devastated the region last week, leaving at least 28 people dead and nearly completely destroying some islands. It will still be a major hurricane tomorrow, then weaken as it interacts with land to a Tropical Storm by Monday over Georgia.

"Dangerous winds will follow quickly", police said in a Facebook post.

Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator (FEMA) said Friday that Irma will "devastate" Southeastern United States. "Once the storm's here, we can't evacuate anybody".

Even before it came ashore, Florida was feeling Irma's fury with at least one man killed, a woman forced to deliver her own baby and trees and apartment towers swaying in high winds.

Forecasters warn that the storm surge from Hurricane Irma could reach 15 feet (4.5 meters) along parts of the Florida coast in the coming hours.

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At least 30 deaths are attributable to the storm, including three in Florida. Next, it's headed for several key airports in Florida.

The storm battered Cuba Sept. 9 after leaving a path of destruction in the Caribbean.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said storm surge is the main fear.

"We're all hanging in there", he said, "ready to get out there to help others as soon as it's safe to do so".

The weather service's Miami office said in a Tweet that one of its employees witnessed the crane boom and counterweight collapse in downtown Miami.

Construction sites across Irma's potential path in Florida were locked down to remove or secure building materials, tools and debris that could be flung by Irma's winds.

Irma was at one time the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the open Atlantic, with a peak wind speed of 185mph last week.

The system was about 25 miles northeast of Key West, according to a 10 am update, and moving north-northwest at 8 miles an hour.

This story was first published on, "Irma regains strength to Category 4 as Florida awaits the worst". "Irma will likely bring periods of heavy rain to much of the Florida Panhandle, Georgia, South Carolina, and western North Carolina early next week, including some mountainous areas which are more prone to flash flooding", the hurricane center reports. After Hurricane Harvey hit Texas two weeks ago, jobless claims surged to the highest level in more than tow years.

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