Hurricane Irma gave Florida a coast-to-coast pummeling with winds up to 130 mph Sunday, swamping homes and boats, knocking out power to millions and toppling massive construction cranes over the Miami skyline.
MIAMI — Hurricane Irma gave Florida a coast-to-coast pummeling with winds up to 130 mph Sunday, swamping homes and boats, knocking out power to millions and toppling massive construction cranes over the Miami skyline.
The 400-mile-wide (640-kilometer-wide) storm blew ashore in the mostly cleared-out Florida Keys, then began a slow trek up the state’s west coast, its punishing winds extending clear across to Miami and West Palm Beach on the Atlantic side.
Irma was expected to reach the heavily populated Tampa-St. Petersburg area by early Monday, though in a much-weakened state. While it arrived in Florida a Category 4 hurricane, by nightfall it was down to a Category 2 with winds of 105 mph (177 kph).
“Pray, pray for everybody in Florida,” Gov. Rick Scott said on “Fox News Sunday” as more than 160,000 people waited out Irma in shelters statewide.
There were no immediate confirmed reports of any deaths in Florida in addition to the 24 people killed during Irma’s destructive trek across the Caribbean.
In the low-lying Keys, where a storm surge of over 10 feet (3 meters) was recorded, appliances and furniture were seen floating away, and Monroe County spokeswoman Cammy Clark said the ocean waters were filled with navigation hazards, including sunken boats. But the full extent of Irma’s wrath there was not clear.
The county administrator, Roman Gastesi, said crews would…
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