Hurricane Jose to turn a half-loop in Atlantic

Hurricane Jose to turn a half-loop in Atlantic

Welcome to our ongoing live coverage of Hurricane Irma, the eye of which this morning made landfall over the Florida Keys after wreaking havoc and causing more than 20 deaths in its drive across the Caribbean.

With the arrival of what is potentially one of the most devastating storms to ever hit Florida, officials have set aside 3.2 million liters (0.85 million gallons) of water, filled 67 trailers with meals, and amassed 24,000 tarps. Emergency crews made rescues throughout the night. Wind hazards from Irma are also expected to spread northward along the coast of Georgia and SC where a Hurricane Watch has been issued.

"We are trying to do everything that we can to get people safe", he said.

At 5 a.m. the storm is about 60 miles north of Tampa with sustained winds of 75.

The National Weather Service in Atlanta issued a tropical storm watch for the area Monday and Tuesday.

Several people have lost their lives across southern Florida in vehicle accidents which may well be blamed on the storm once police have a chance to investigate.

As Florida struggles to resupply gas stations drained by Hurricane Irma evacuees, a growing number of stations in Georgia and SC are running out of fuel as the storm moves north.

Forecasters said metro Atlanta could expect peak winds of 30-40 miles per hour (50 to 65 kph) and gusts up to 55 miles per hour (90 kph) on Monday, with a likelihood of falling limbs and trees blocking roadways and snapping power lines. "It's been strong enough to knock us over".

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Forecasters warned of storm surge as high as 15 feet along a swath of southwest Florida and beyond. No injuries were reported. "We have an army of more than 16,000 hardworking men and women committed to restoring power as the first bands of severe weather impact our service territory, and they will work continuously before, during and after the storm clears until all customers have power again".

"It's a worst-case scenario for Florida on the west coast", said FEMA Administrator Brock Long.

Havana residents remained without water supplies and phone connections and schools were closed until further notice.

Its customers are concentrated in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Major tourist attractions, including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World, all prepared to close Saturday.

Almost the entire Florida coastline remained under hurricane watches and warnings, and the latest projections could shift again, aiming the worst of the storm at other parts of the state.

Shortages are expected to continue until Florida's ports, which feed the state's demand for gas, are reopened and able to receive shipments. In Georgia, similar surge threatened to submerge the only road linking Tybee Island, Georgia, to Savannah on the mainland for hours, said Dennis Jones, emergency management director for Chatham County. Almost 540,000 people in Savannah and the rest of coastal Georgia were under evacuation orders for the second time since last October, when Hurricane Matthew raked the coast en route to SC.

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