Worst of Irma still to hit Macon, Middle Georgia

Worst of Irma still to hit Macon, Middle Georgia

Hurricane Irma has been downgraded to Tropical Storm Irma, but that doesn't mean it didn't do plenty of damage while at the height of its power. Worth County sheriff's spokeswoman Kannetha Clem said the man use a ladder to climb onto a shed Monday morning as sustained winds in the county exceeded 40 miles per hour (65 kph).

Bands of wind and up to an inch of rain will sweep across Tampa Bay throughout Monday, with occasional hurricane- and tropical storm-force winds.

The eye of Category 3 Hurricane Irma crossed into mainland Florida near Naples on Sunday afternoon after striking the Florida Keys at Category 4 strength on Sunday morning.

Two tornadoes touched down in Brevard County, on the Atlantic Coast; Miami's major airport sustained damage and remained closed; and storm surges and additional flooding were expected on the Gulf Coast.

A hurricane watch was also issued for the SC coast from the Georgia line to Edisto Beach, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) southwest of Charleston. Authorities are still surveying damage from the record-breaking storm, and this story will be updated as more details emerge.

At least nine people have died in Florida, Georgia and SC as a result of the storm.

The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center warned of life-threatening storm surges "Expected in areas of onshore winds along the Florida west coast".

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

More news: Power out? You could be in the dark for a week

Irma is plowing into Georgia and toward other parts of the Deep South - Alabama, Tennessee and the Carolinas.

According to media reports, there were at least five storm-related deaths.

Earlier forecasts of a storm surge of at least 5 feet have yet to be verified.

The hurricane triggered mass evacuations of historic proportions, with more than six million people asked to flee in Florida and the neighboring states.

As dawn broke Monday, residents of southern Florida awoke to see what Hurricane Irma left in its wake, including flooded streets and homes, crumpled gas stations and downed trees. About 155,000 people had taken refuge in 573 shelters across the state.

Irma, which killed at least 22 people in the Caribbean, was likely to cause billions of dollars in damage to the third-most-populous U.S. state. "In some cases the bridge structures may not be safe to cross over", Long said on MSNBC.

Forecasters expect the storm to bring wind hazards and up to 20 inches of rain in southern and western SC.

More than 500,000 homes in Florida have lost power, energy company FPL reports on its website.

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