Irma downgraded to tropical depression; city flooding continues

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Irma dropped to tropical storm status Monday but is still very much a danger as it rumbles north over the Florida-Georgia line and into the Deep South after lashing most of the Sunshine State.

Much of eastern Alabama and coastal SC were also under tropical storm warnings as Irma roared into Florida as a deadly Category 4 hurricane.

Appliances and furniture were seen floating away in the low-lying Keys, though the full extent of Irma's fury there was not clear. A medical examiner will determine an official cause of death, but McComie says it appears to be an accident. The Department of Transportation said U.S. Highway 1 was closed in the Keys pending a complete assessment of the bridges.

The timeline for Irma's rain and gusty winds to arrive in the Valley will be after 3pm for east of I-65, spreading to the entire region tonight through Tuesday morning, and slowly winding down late Tuesday into Wednesday morning.

Scott said a Navy aircraft carrier and search and rescue teams from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will converge on the Keys to help Irma's victims.

Members of the Ole Miss community have friends and family who have already been affected by the storm.

For days, forecasters had warned that Irma was taking dead aim at the Miami metropolitan area and the rest of Florida's Atlantic coast.

Irma's thrashing winds cut power to two-thirds of all power company customers in Florida, totaling more than 6.5 million customer accounts. In Georgia, similar surge threatened to submerge the only road linking Tybee Island, Georgia, to Savannah on the mainland for hours, said Dennis Jones, emergency management director for Chatham County.

With the arrival of what is potentially one of the most devastating storms to ever hit Florida, officials have set aside 3.2 million liters (0.85 million gallons) of water, filled 67 trailers with meals, and amassed 24,000 tarps.

And Jose could produce up to an inch of additional rainfall on the island of Anguilla throughout the evening, which "will maintain any ongoing flooding", the hurricane center said.

Police in Miami-Dade County said they had made 29 arrests for looting and burglary.

"At least we get a week to remind us what summer was like", Tyburski added.

Forecasters warned that buildings could be damaged and said tornadoes could spin off as the extremely wide tropical system moves beyond Florida on Monday and early Tuesday.

"As soon as the wind shifts direction, the water will come back quickly and continue to move inland", Jones said.

"We don't anticipate this will be a highly localized event", Hawkins said.

SC also geared up for the storm. Boats, including one named "Lucky Duck", had been driven ashore by the storm and utility crews were on the streets there clearing downed trees and power lines.

Even though Irma was downgraded to a Cat.

In one of the largest USA evacuations, almost 7 million people in the Southeast were warned to seek shelter, including 6.4 million in Florida alone. Rain will begin over southeast areas by sunrise and continue throughout the day tomorrow and tomorrow night.