National Hurricane Center: Irma now a tropical storm
TAMPA, Fla. -- Tropical Storm Irma, once a hurricane, is churning its way away from the Tampa Bay region.
The storm has weakened to a tropical storm with 70 mph winds, according to the 8 a.m. Monday update from the National Hurricane Center. It still is producing hurricane-force wind gusts in excess of 74 mph, however.
Irma is moving north-northwest at 18 mph with a minimum central pressure of 970 mb.
A private observer in Clearwater Beach measured a wind gust of 96 mph after midnight, according to the National Weather Service.
Hurricane Irma officially made U.S. landfall at 9:10 a.m. at Cudjoe Key. Around that time, there was a reported 106 mph gust at the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key.
Irma made its second U.S. landfall at Marco Island at about 3:30 p.m.
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Numerous hurricane warnings and watches are in effect, including the Tampa Bay region and all of south Florida. This means most people who chose to stay hunkered down at home or in a shelter can expect hurricane-force winds in excess of 74 mph.
A more eastward track resulted in Hurricane Irma making landfall south of Tampa Bay.
Earlier forecasts of a storm surge of at least 5 feet have yet to be verified. The storm, since making landfall, has weakened and likely did not blow the anticipated amount of water into the bay.
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