Hurricane Irma downgraded to Category 2 storm, as it approaches Naples

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Irma slammed the state of Florida Sunday.

Irma weakens to Category 2 hurricane as it smacks Naples, Florida; storm surges expected after eye passes.

More than 2.1 million customers have lost power in Florida with Hurricane Irma striking the state.

Florida Power & Light reported the numbers Sunday afternoon. The utility, which services much of south Florida, says more than 845,000 of those customers are in Miami-Dade County.

Duke Energy, the dominant utility in the northern half of Florida, has about 13,000 outages with the outer bands of Irma sweeping across the region.

The power companies say they have extra crews on hand to try to restore power - when it becomes safe to do so.

Hurricane Irma is affecting the House of Representative's work schedule in Washington.

Video shows trees bending just after daybreak as Irma approaches
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People waiting out the storm in Islamorada in the Florida Keys survey the damage just after daybreak.



A notice from the House majority leader's office says the House now doesn't plan to take any votes Monday because of "the large number of absences" as a result of the storm.

The first votes of the week are expected Tuesday evening.

The House leadership will keep tabs on the situation and announce updates as necessary.

The eye of Hurricane Irma is nearing Naples, Florida, and continues to cause destruction over a wide swath of South Florida.

The National Hurricane Center said Irma had winds of 120 mph and was centered 20 miles south of Naples on Sunday afternoon. It was moving north at 12 mph. At that rate, the center of the storm should come ashore sometime between 4 and 5 p.m.

PHOTOS: Hurricane Irma makes landfall in Florida


Hurricane Irma has pushed water out of a bay in Tampa, but forecasters are telling people not to venture out there because it's going to return with a potentially deadly vengeance.

On Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, approximately 100 people were walking Sunday afternoon on what was Old Tampa Bay - a body of water near downtown. Hurricane Irma's winds and low tide have pushed the water unusually far from its normal position. Some people are venturing as far as 200 yards out to get to the water's new edge. The water is normally about 4 to 5 feet deep and reaches a seawall.

The U.S. Hurricane Center has sent out an urgent alert warning of a "life-threatening storm surge inundation of 10 to 15 feet above ground level" and telling people to "MOVE AWAY FROM THE WATER!"

The waters retracted because the leading wind bands of Irma whipped the coastal water more out to sea. But once the eye passes and the wind reverses, the water will rush back in.

NOAA plane flies through powerful Hurricane Irma
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NOAA plane flies through powerful Hurricane Irma.



Hurricane Irma is affecting the House of Representative's work schedule in Washington.

A notice from the House majority leader's office says the House now doesn't plan to take any votes Monday because of "the large number of absences" as a result of the storm.

The first votes of the week are expected Tuesday evening.

The House leadership will keep tabs on the situation and announce updates as necessary.
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Strong winds on the North Side of Key West.(Courtesy : @NASKeyWest)


Miami City Manager Daniel Alfonso says a second tower crane has collapsed into a building under construction in the city's downtown area. Alfonso told The Associated Press that the crane collapsed in a large development with multiple towers being built by Grand Paraiso.

Another crane collapsed earlier Sunday onto a high-rise building that's under construction in a bayfront area filled with hotels and high-rise condo and office buildings, near AmericanAirlines Arena. Officials said no one was injured as the result of either crane's collapse.

High winds are impeding Miami authorities' ability to reach the cranes, and authorities are urging people to avoid the areas.

Alfonso says the approximately two-dozen other cranes in the city are still upright and built to withstand significant wind gusts.

The tower cranes working on construction sites throughout the city were a concern ahead of Irma. Moving the massive equipment, weighing up to 30,000 pounds, is a slow process that would have taken about two weeks, according to city officials.

The National Hurricane Center says a slightly weakened but still powerful Irma will slam the Naples and Marco Island with its strongest winds in a couple of hours.

Irma's winds dropped to 120 mph, down from 130 mph, and forecasters say it should weaken a bit more before landfall. But it still expected to a strong major hurricane as it rakes Florida from its western edges across to the east.
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Storm surge from Hurricane Irma floods downtown Miami


The storm is 35 miles south of Naples and has picked up speed moving north at 12 mph.

The now Category 3 hurricane will keep on battering all of South Florida with high wind and surge, forecasters say. The hurricane center in western Miami, across the state from the eye of the mammoth storm, recorded an 81 mph wind gust.

"This is a life-threatening situation," the hurricane center posted.

An apparent tornado spun off by Hurricane Irma has destroyed six mobile homes in Florida.

Palm Bay Police Department Lt. Mike Bandish said no one was injured in Sunday's tornado, but that a 93-year-old man refused to leave his damaged home. He told Florida Today that officers tried to convince him to leave, but he wouldn't.

Palm Bay is on Florida's central Atlantic Coast near the Kennedy Space Center. The eye of Irma was hundreds of miles away when the tornado struck.
Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke says she doesn't have any doubt that the federal government can respond to Hurricane Irma and the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey simultaneously.

Duke spoke Sunday afternoon at Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters. Talking about efforts to respond to Irma in Florida and the aftermath of Harvey in Texas she says, "I know we're ready and ... I don't have any doubt ... that as a federal government we can do this and will do this."
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More homes damaged by apparent tornado in Palm Bay, Florida


Duke says she and FEMA chief Brock Long spoke earlier Sunday with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and that they are "absolutely pleased with the response" and that they "understand that we're just getting started in many ways."

Some exterior paneling of AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, home of the NBA's Heat, has been damaged by the wind. The arena is near the downtown Miami location where a crane snapped as Irma pounded away Sunday. But a team official told The Associated Press that an initial investigation showed no structural damage. They'll investigate further once conditions make it safe for workers to be outside. The Heat do not play in the arena until their preseason opener on Oct. 1.

At Raymond James Stadium in Tampa - where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play football - local, regional and statewide authorities are using the parking lots and surroundings as a staging area for high-water vehicles and equipment. On Saturday afternoon, several U.S. Marine amphibious vehicles were parked side by side, giant tanks that are ready to plunge into floodwater if needed.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says members of his family who evacuated from Naples ahead of Hurricane Irma are leaving again now that it appears the killer storm will descend on the state capital.

Scott's wife, First Lady Ann Scott, as well as his daughter, his son-in-law and grandchildren left southwest Florida and came to the state capital. Scott owns a waterfront mansion in an area that is in the path of the hurricane.

But Scott said Sunday that his daughter and grandchildren will be leaving Tallahassee to go to Washington, D.C. His daughter just gave birth to twins. Scott said it would be "tough for them if we lose power."

The governor said he doesn't know what storm preparations have taken place at the governor's mansion, located a few blocks north of the Capitol. He said he "hasn't really been there" because he has been in other parts of the state or at the state emergency operations center.

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weatherdisasteru.s. & worldhurricane irmahurricaneFlorida
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