Hurricane Irma turns Florida into a 'war zone'

11 EMTs from northeast TN head to FL to aid in Irma relief

11 EMTs from northeast TN head to FL to aid in Irma relief

Flood and tornado warnings have been issued for parts of coastal Georgia and SC. "I just don't know".

Once-fearsome Hurricane Irma weakened Monday to a still-dangerous tropical storm as it spread high winds and rain across the Southeast, one day after engulfing most of the Florida peninsula.

The NHC said the storm "is still life-threatening with unsafe storm surge, wind and heavy rains".

Convoys of utility trucks were pictured making their way down 1-95 through Orlando towards the Florida Keys and Miami, as blacked-out business owners asked why they had to wait for help.

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Residents who needed help getting out were urged to put a white flag, T-shirt, or other white object in front of their home to grab the attention of search and rescue teams.

Irma, which killed at least 22 people in the Caribbean, was likely to cause billions of dollars in damage to the third-most-populous USA state. "A t-shirt, anything white", the office said on its Facebook paqe. It's going to be tough for us to get in to perform search and rescue in South Florida. The Navy is sending an aircraft carrier to Key West to provide emergency services. The storm could also produce isolated tornadoes in the Carolinas early next week.

It was the first time the eye of a Category 5 storm had made landfall in Cuba since 1932, state media said, and the island's Communist government ordered the evacuation of more than a million people from its path.

Over the next two days, Irma is expected to push to the northwest, into Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. A deputy and a paramedic, who had just escorted an elderly patient to safety, were trapped for two hours until a crew could free them.

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In Redington Shores west of Tampa, attorney Carl Roberts spent a sleepless night riding out Irma in his 17th floor beachfront condo.

People in the heavily populated Tampa-St. Firefighters and National Guardsmen went door-to-door and used boats to ferry families to safety. After losing power late Sunday, he made it through the worst of the storm shaken but unhurt. Also, hurricane force winds will reach Miami and surrounding areas as early as Saturday night.

Washington, Sep 11 (IANS) Hurricane Irma on Monday weakened to a Category 1 storm with top sustained winds of 120km/h battering Florida with continued hurricane-force winds, torrential rain and risky storm surges, leaving almost six million without power.

"Irma went over and we were all like, 'Oh good, we survived.' And then all of a sudden some of the panels came off the roof, I guess, and we started getting water pouring down in different places", said 61-year-old Mary Fitzgerald.

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A few miles away, a huge sinkhole opened at the edge of an apartment building, swallowing air conditioning units and bushes.

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