First Hurricane-Force Wind Reaches Florida

Irma remains a Category 3 and headed toward Tampa area
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 9, 2017 10:42 PM CDT
170K Without Power as Irma Nears Florida
High surf from Hurricane Irma crashes below the pier at Dania Beach, Fla., on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017.    (Joe Cavaretta)

Irma is getting closer to Florida: As of about 11pm Eastern, the hurricane was roughly 90 miles southeast of Key West, per the AP. More than 170,000 homes and businesses in Florida already have lost power, and more than half of those outages were in the Miami-Dade area, where about 600,000 people have been ordered to evacuate. Florida Power and Light has said it expects millions of people to lose power. Irma is currently a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 120mph, and the first hurricane-force gale of 74mph has been registered in the Florida Keys.

The National Hurricane Center says the storm's forward motion fell to 6mph as the storm stuttered off the coast of Cuba. Forecasters say it could still increase in strength, but their forecast didn't show it. The latest forecast calls for Irma to make landfall Sunday morning in the Florida Keys, then hit southwestern Florida before moving up the coast to the Tampa area, reports USA Today. "THIS IS AS REAL AS IT GETS," tweeted the National Weather Service. "NOWHERE IN THE FLORIDA KEYS WILL BE SAFE. (Read more Hurricane Irma stories.)

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