Irma weakens to Category 1 storm as it pushes north of Tampa

Irma now a tropical storm but still lashing Florida and Georgia

Editor's note: This is a developing story that is being constantly updated as the storm progresses.

As Trump landed in Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Hurricane Irma was making landfall on the western coast of Florida.

(Photo: REUTERS/Carlos Barria) A truck is seen turned over as Hurricane Irma passes south Florida, in Miami, U.S. September 10, 2017. Irma made its first USA landfall at 9 a.m. Sunday at Cudjoe Key as a Category 4 storm, packing winds that reached 130 miles per hour.

Irma is already uprooting trees and turning streets into rivers. With communication cut to some of the Florida Keys, where Irma made landfall Sunday, and rough conditions persisting across the peninsula, many are holding their breath for what daylight might reveal. "They saw impacts from this storm overnight". Mike Sprayberry, the director of North Carolina Emergency Management, said about 80 people were in shelters opened recently and about 400 meals were given out.

Irma hit southwestern Florida on Sunday morning as a risky Category 4 storm, the second-highest level on the five-notch Saffir-Simpson scale.

"This is a life-threatening situation", Governor Rick Scott told a press conference. On Sunday afternoon, it rounded Florida's southwestern corner and hugged the coast closely as it pushed north. But this year marked the first time since 2003 that it started in April, with Tropical Storm Arlene. "We're going to rebuild".

"If Tampa stays on the east side of the eye, we expect the storm surge to be worse than if the eye moves inland and the west side of the storm hits it", he said. The winds from the northeast would shift to out of the southwest, potentially sending all that water, and then some, back into the bay.

A Hurricane Watch is in effect north of Fernandina Beach to Edisto Beach. No injuries were reported. The highest it ever got in Tampa Bay was two feet. The storm also decimated several Caribbean islands, destroying homes, leaving widespread flooding and leaving at least 38 people dead. More than 100,000 were in the dark in Georgia. Streets flooded, and flying objects such as coconuts turned into risky projectiles.

Authorities now fear Tampa will be next hit by the category two storm cell with wind speeds of 160 km/h expected to hit the unprepared region, CNN reports.

Gusts topping 90 miles per hour whipped Miami on Sunday, knocking out power to most of the city's residents.

Antonio Wilson stayed in his 16th-floor condo in Miami, watching the waters rise below.

Police said a man in the Florida Keys was killed in a truck crash.

"You can't survive these storm surges", he said.

More than 6.5 million homes and businesses statewide remained without power, and 180,000 people huddled in shelters. We have downed power lines all across the state.

Forecasters warned that after moving up Florida's west coast, a weakened Irma could push into Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and beyond. Rains will intensify going into Monday and as the storm gets closer.

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