Irma weakens to tropical storm on northward ascent across Florida

More than 4 million accounts are without power in Florida due to Hurricane Irma

At least four people have been killed in Florida as Hurricane Irma batters the state, bringing heavy rains and flooding.

"Basically, every house in the Keys was impacted in some way", said FEMA administrator Brock Long, according to CNN.

Some 3m people live in the Tampa Bay area.

Next, Irma is to push into the Gulf states of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and north to Tennessee.

Drinking water supplies in the Keys were cut off, fuel was running low and all three hospitals in the island chain were closed. The damage from the storm damaged not just people's homes and businesses, but also knocked out communication services to rescue crews.

Almost 4.5 million homes and businesses across Florida lost power, and utility officials said it will take weeks to restore electricity to everyone. Flooding in downtown Jacksonville along the river topped a record set during Hurricane Dora in 1965.

After having claimed at least 27 lives in a host of Caribbean islands before hammering Florida, reports put the death toll in the State at five. "People will respond if they can see video of something and how bad it is, they're more likely to respond to evacuation orders or take shelter orders if we can help with that".

Irma weakens to tropical storm on northward ascent across Florida
Irma weakens to tropical storm on northward ascent across Florida

Gov. Rick Scott announced he'll join members of the U.S. Coast Guard for an aerial tour Monday afternoon to further assess the damage.

As the storm weakens as it heads toward Georgia, outages have leveled off or even declined at other Florida utilities, while increasing in Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.

During its march up Florida's west coast, Irma swamped homes, uprooted trees and flooded streets. Nonetheless, barrier islands like Marco Island, near Naples, reported rising flood water and a loss of electricity and drinking water, authorities said.

"We dealt with it", Curry said.

The Keys are linked by 42 bridges that have to be checked for safety before motorists can be allowed in, officials said.

TS Irma will exit Florida this afternoon, but not before bringing another day of bands of heavy rain, the risk of tornadoes, potentially damaging winds, and risky storm surge.

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