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Hurricane Jose still a potential threat to Florida after Hurricane Irma
September 25 2017, 02:52 | Geraldine Moore
Hurricane Irma making Florida landfall as deadly path shifts to Tampa
Residents were allowed to return Tuesday to some islands in the hurricane-slammed Florida Keys as officials sought to piece together the scope of Irma's destruction and rush aid into the drenched and debris-strewn state.
These widespread gasoline outages threaten to make life even more hard for Florida residents as they try to return home to see if their property suffered damage from Irma's powerful winds and storm surge.
The Lower Keys - including the chain's most distant and most populous island, Key West, with 27,000 people - were still off-limits, with a roadblock in place where the single highway to the farther islands was washed out.
The storm was downgraded as it moved north towards Atlanta, with maximum sustained winds of 56km/h (35mph) later recorded, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in a statement.
Irma has been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, with winds of 70 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center said.
Floodwater from Hurricane Irma surrounds a vehicle wash in Bonita Springs, Florida, U.S., September 10, 2017. REUTERS/Bryan WoolstonFlood water from Hurricane Irma surround a damaged mobile home in Bonita Springs, Florida, U.S., September 10, 2017.
In Coral Gables, near Miami, fallen trees made streets look like jungle, and damaged power lines could be heard buzzing.
People walk along a street in South Beach, Miami, as Hurricane Irma arrives in Florida.
On Tuesday morning, the rainy remnants of Irma pushed through Alabama and MS after drenching Georgia.
Irma formed off the African coast in late August and quickly became a hurricane strength event in sea surface temperatures around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
"This is likely to be one of the largest and most complex power restoration efforts in USA history", said Tom Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, an industry trade group.
On Sunday, Irma made landfall in Florida with 210 km/h winds knocking out power to more than 2.5 million homes. Petersburg area, once thought to be relatively safe from harm, suddenly found itself in the storm's crosshairs.
"With Orlando being in central Florida we aren't getting it as bad as the coastal towns, but there are very strong winds and heavy rain battering down". Tampa Bay could see surges of up to 5 to 8 feet. He still had power.
"We're doing everything possible to help save lives and support those in need", Trump said. "And then, I think we're OK, knock on wood".
Power outages in Florida affected nearly 5 million homes, organizations and businesses, among them gas stations, which need the electricity to keep pumps working.
The storm fatality occurred in south-west Georgia, where Irma's centre crossed over from Florida on Monday afternoon. By comparison, only 4 percent of 3.2 million customer outages following Hurricane Wilma in 2005 were addressed in the same time.
Meteorologist Ryan Maue of WeatherBell Analytics said the entire Florida peninsula will be raked by Irma's right front quadrant - the part of a hurricane that usually brings the strongest winds, storm surge, rain and tornadoes.
Officials in Orange County, which includes the central Florida resort city of Orlando, reported a USA second fatality, from a single-car crash that was apparently storm-related.
The National Weather Service reported that storm surge flooding in Jacksonville set a record Monday morning as water covered downtown streets. High rise apartment buildings were left standing like islands in the flood. "It's like being on a ship".
Irma is expected to sap demand for fuel for a time, Goldman Sachs analysts said in a note on Monday, but they cautioned that supply could remain strained due to refining capacity offline in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas two weeks ago.
The storm and evacuation orders caused major disruption to transportation in the state that is a major tourist hub. The airport remained operational, with flights taking off and landing. It caused $15 billion in damage and was blamed for as many as 35 deaths in the U.S.