Irma spins up funnel clouds, tornado in Florida

Toppled Cranes Floods and More See

Toppled Cranes Floods MoreAP

Irma weakened from a Category 5 storm to Category 4 on Friday morning with maximum sustained winds near 150 miles per hour, but it remained a powerful hurricane.

Irma, a Category 4 hurricane when it hit the peninsula on Saturday after battering the Florida Keys and various islands in the Caribbean last week, traveled up the west coast of Florida before extending its destructive power into Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

"As little as six inches of moving water can knock you down", tweeted the state's governor Rick Scott following the downgrade. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew caused $27 billion in damage. The storm damaged about 95% of the buildings on the island, said Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of the nation of Antigua and Barbuda.

Irma Brings Record Flooding to Jacksonville
Irma Brings Record Flooding to Jacksonville

The US aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln was off Florida's east coast and two amphibious assault ships were en route to help in the Keys.

Carroll said NWS is not expecting significant storm impact, but officials are expecting some trees to fall.

"It's the worst storm I've ever seen", said South, the NOAA meteorologist.

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Several major airports in Florida that halted passenger operations due to Irma began limited service on Tuesday, including Miami International, one of the busiest USA airports.

St. Martin and St. Barts also escaped further damage from Jose, as French state meteorological agency Météo-France said Sunday the second hurricane took "a passage which was farther away than anticipated".

From there, Irma is expected to continue weakening as it crosses through Florida.

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a NY investor conference that the storm would ultimately boost the economy by sparking rebuilding. "So everybody's got to be patient as we work through this", he said.

Big airports in Florida remain closed, and flight cancellations are spreading along the track of Tropical Storm Irma outside Florida.

Irma's core is expected to hit the Florida Keys on Sunday morning, tearing through the island towns between Key West and Marathon, the National Weather Service reported. That's 64 percent of the state's power customers, and there are several counties where 80-90 percent of customers are without power. That risk extended to the coast of Georgia and parts of SC, the hurricane centre said.

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The National Hurricane Service's latest update said that 150 km/h gust was recently measured at Carysfort Reef Light near Key Largo. They're only part of this year's unusually active hurricane season.

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