Hurricane-force winds expected across Tampa Bay; warnings in effect

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The storm has weakened to a tropical storm with 70 miles per hour winds, according to the 8 a.m. Monday update from the National Hurricane Center. It's now just north of Cuba, and its eye should move near the north coast of Cuba and the central Bahamas Friday night and Saturday.

Authorities are opening a fifth emergency shelter Sunday, this one in Greensboro, to house people fleeing Hurricane Irma from Florida and other states.

The hurricane is expected to make a slow, ruinous march up the state's west coast, hitting the heavily populated Tampa-St.

Despite Irma tracking along the west coast of Florida, water will still surge toward the Georgia, South Carolina and southeastern North Carolina coasts, threatening to cause coastal flooding in places such as Savannah, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

The National Weather Service says the first hurricane-force wind gust has been recorded in the Florida Keys as Irma inches closer to the state. In the Atlanta metro area, about 496 stations, or 12.2 per cent, were out of gasoline, according to information service Gas Buddy.

Updating you on the local impacts of Tropical Storm Irma on WBRC FOX6 News at Noon.

Irma's center was about 105 miles (170 km) north of Tampa when forecasters announced it had weakened to a tropical storm. A mandatory evacuation remains for anyone living in mobile homes and anyone in the County's evacuation level A, red-colored areas on the map near the coast, rivers, streams and low-lying areas.

Tampa Electric told customers yesterday, however, that response crews were halting work because of the high winds.

The metro will see tropical storm-force winds by Monday afternoon.

In downtown Miami, two of the two dozen construction cranes looming over the skyline collapsed in the wind. Some tornadoes will also be possible.

State troopers had all lanes of Interstate 16 heading westbound out of Savannah on Saturday morning.

Gov. Nathan Deal is urging Georgians to have a healthy fear of Hurricane Irma. He added, however: "I think the hard part is now beginning".

"We have a pretty good idea of where it's going". We were ready to go.

Weatherunderground's Jeff Masters said a strike on the west Florida coast was the most likely option. "I just don't know". During that storm, "I lived the experience of feeling that I was inside a blender", she said.

The National September 11 Memorial and Museum are set for a memorial service, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, in NY.

If a person has to walk outside, they should do so with caution.

FEMA said they had almost 10 million liters of water, more than 5 million meals, 13,000 cots and 41,000 blankets ready to be deployed where needed.

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