'Astounding Recovery Effort' in Irma-Slammed Florida Keys

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Hurricane Irma passed through most of Florida by Monday morning, causing untold damage, and killing at least four in the Sunshine State. No injuries were reported. "And we're going to see winds that are averaging about 40 miles per hour, with peak wind gusts of about 60 miles per hour".

Hurricane Irma has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm and could lose hurricane status by the end of Monday-but authorities warn that it is still very risky and the true extent of its destruction is still unclear.

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. He said progress would be "measured in weeks, not days". A total of 7 million people were told to evacuate ahead of the storm.

In the 2 p.m. advisory, National Hurricane forecasters said the storm is now moving north at a faster pace -12 mph rather than an earlier rate of 9 mph - and maximum sustained winds dropped to 120 mph.

The Tampa-St. Petersburg area, with a population of about 3 million, has not taken a direct hit from a major hurricane since 1921. Officials warned of potential scattered power outages and minor localized flooding.

"I think there's maybe one or two other families that actually stuck around, you know, stop sign to stop sign", Hernandez said.

"We're doing out part to get ready, and we encourage residents to do the same", Stone said. A tropical storm warning was issued for the first time ever in Atlanta, some 200 miles from the sea.

Duke said she and Brock Long, the FEMA administrator, spoke earlier Sunday with Trump and Pence, and that both were "absolutely pleased with the response".

The current projection has Irma continuing northward and gradually weakening until it becomes a mere tropical depression... in Indiana.

But on Saturday, all that changed when Irma's course shifted.

Northeastern Florida cities including Jacksonville were facing flash flooding, with the city's sheriff's office pulling residents from waist-deep water.

Florida Power and Light said it had "safely shut down" one of two nuclear reactors at its Turkey Point power plant.

Irma is one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded and has already devastated several Caribbean islands with 185 miles per hour winds and extreme flooding.

For Tampa, however, a storm like this has been even longer coming - it has been almost a century since a major hurricane struck Florida's second-most populous metropolitan area. Clay, Randolph and Quitman Counties are under a Tropical Storm Warning - where those wind speeds of 45-60mph and gusts up to 80mph are likely.

At least 10 deaths in the U.S. Southeast are now blamed on Irma, including people hit by falling trees or tree limbs.