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Irma Weakens After Hard Hits on Caribbean, Florida

2017-09-12

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[00:00.00]
  • Hurricane Irma has weakened to a tropical storm after causing widespread damage on Caribbean islands and the U.S. state of Florida.
  • [00:13.90]
  • Irma’s winds eased to about 100 kilometers per hour Monday as the storm continued to move on a northwest path, away from Florida.
  • [00:29.16]
  • The ocean storm had been the strongest kind of hurricane – a Category 5 – as it moved through the Caribbean area last week.
  • [00:42.44]
  • The storm’s wind speeds were measured near 300 kilometers per hour at one time.
  • [00:51.23]
  • Weather officials warn that Irma is expected to keep producing high winds and heavy rain, although it has weakened.
  • [01:02.78]
  • Officials in Florida were getting their first look at storm damage in some areas Monday.
  • [01:11.40]
  • Irma first hit the islands called the Florida Keys early Sunday, when the storm was at its greatest strength.
  • [01:21.32]
  • Later Sunday, the storm struck Tampa and St. Petersburg, the two largest cities around Tampa Bay on Florida’s western coast.
  • [01:33.89]
  • A storm surge near those cities caused high ocean waves to flood streets and homes.
  • [01:41.70]
  • Severe flooding was reported in many other cities and towns along Florida’s Gulf of Mexico coastline.
  • [01:51.02]
  • Flooding also was reported in Jacksonville on Florida’s eastern Atlantic coast.
  • [01:58.76]
  • The storm damaged power lines and some building cranes.
  • [02:03.87]
  • About 6.5 million homes and businesses remained without power across Florida,
  • [02:12.97]
  • and officials said it could be weeks before power is restored in all places.
  • [02:19.90]
  • An estimated 220,000 people were staying in shelters.
  • [02:27.59]
  • Florida Governor Rick Scott said on Twitter he was joining members of the U.S. Coast Guard to view damage from Irma in the Florida Keys.
  • [02:39.77]
  • No deaths in Florida were immediately linked to the storm.
  • [02:45.37]
  • Before hitting Florida, Irma left at least 34 people dead in several island nations.
  • [02:53.02]
  • Ten of those deaths were in Cuba, where severe flooding was reported in several neighborhoods in central Havana.
  • [03:03.37]
  • State media reported about 1 million people were evacuated from high-risk flood areas.
  • [03:12.25]
  • In the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said 95 percent of buildings were either destroyed or severely damaged.
  • [03:26.53]
  • The small French island of St. Barthelemy and the French-Dutch island divided between St. Martin and St. Maarten also were badly damaged.
  • [03:41.77]
  • The U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and the Turks and Caicos also suffered damage.
  • [03:53.89]
  • ​Officials in the Caribbean area are working to help residents reporting shortages of food, water and medicine.
  • [04:03.82]
  • In the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, more than one million people were left without power after the storm.
  • [04:12.95]
  • The U.S. military deployed Navy ships and aircraft and hundreds of Marines to help with recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • [04:26.38]
  • I’m Bryan Lynn.
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