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Hurricane Irma set to hit Florida mainland

MIAMI, September 10, 2017

Violent winds and rains close to hurricane force are battering islands in Florida's south as Hurricane Irma is due to hit the mainland in the coming hours.
 
Winds of 74 mph -- hurricane force -- reached Florida's Key West late Saturday, the National Weather Service said.
 
With maximum sustained winds of 120 mph, Irma is expected to strengthen once it moves away from Cuba, with the possibility of hitting the US mainland as a Category 4, said CNN report.
 
Water levels are already rising on the coast of the US state where a huge storm surge is expected. Some 6.3 million people had been told to evacuate, but the state governor said on Saturday it was now too late to leave for anyone remaining.
 
At least 24 people have died after Irma earlier hit several Caribbean islands.
 
National Weather Service warned that a "life-threatening storm surge" is expected in the Florida Keys - a chain of small islands in Florida's south - and also the west coast of Florida.
 
The Florida Keys have suffered some minor damage and are expected to bear the brunt of the storm in the coming hours.
 
The head of emergencies agency Fema, Brock Long, told CNN there were "no safe areas within the Keys".
"You put your life in your own hands by not evacuating," he added.



Tags: Hurricane | Florida |

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