Live Blog: Hurricane Irma blows off part of roof of Cocoa Beach Police Department

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ORLANDO, Fla. - This live blog will update with the latest information on Hurricane Irma. For the latest on the weather forecast tap or click here.

Latest: Irma blows off part of roof of Cocoa Beach Police Department (11:30 p.m.) 

Cocoa Beach Mayor Ben Malik said part of the roof of the Cocoa Beach Police Department has come off in the winds from Hurricane Irma, but that all personnel are safe.

The mayor said no personnel were in the building at the time the roof came off.

In advance of the hurricane, all police personnel had moved to the new Cocoa Beach Fire Department building nearby to work.

10 crashes in Central Florida, but FHP unable to respond  (10:58 p.m.)

The Florida Highway Patrol said there are 10 reported crashes in the Central Florida area, but troopers’ response is pending as they wait for conditions to improve.

Troopers were asked to shelter at 7 p.m. once the weather from Hurricane Irma began to deteriorate.

Hurricane Irma: Troopers respond to crashes, urge residents to stay off roads

Troopers said 30 crashes were reported Saturday, including a fatal one.

Drivers are reminded that the weather conditions are not safe and to stay off the roads. 

Hurricane Irma nears populated Tampa region

Hurricane Irma remains a dangerous Category 2 hurricane despite weakening a bit more to 100 mph. It's now bearing down on the Tampa-St. Petersburg region.

The National Hurricane Center says Irma's eye is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Tampa and moving at a fast clip of 14 mph (22 kph). Still a large hurricane, its tropical storm force winds extend out 415 miles (665 kilometers).

Forecasters say they expert Irma's center to stay inland over Florida and then move into Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.

 

They also expect Irma to weaken further into a tropical storm over far northern Florida or southern Georgia on Monday as it speeds up its forward motion. The hurricane center says the storm is still life-threatening with dangerous storm surge, wind and heavy rains.

3rd construction crane falls to Irma's winds (10:20 p.m.)

A third construction crane has toppled in Florida in the powerful winds of Hurricane Irma.

Officials say it happened at a project on Fort Lauderdale beach during the storm Sunday.

Officials with developer The Related Group told the Sun-Sentinel the crane collapse caused no injuries and did not appear to damage anything else.

 

Two other cranes toppled earlier in Miami as Irma swirled up the state

Storm-related death reported in Orange County (9:30 p.m.)  

A man died in a crash Sunday night due to storm-related conditions, the Orange County mayor said.

It’s the first storm-related death reported in Orange County.

The crash involved one vehicle and happened just before 7 p.m. on State Road 417.

“This underscores how dangerous the roads are because it was just a single vehicle,” said Orange County Fire Rescue Chief Otto Drozd.

WATCH: Orange County officials give update on storm safety

 

It’s still not known what caused the crash and it remains under investigation.

Jacobs said it’s an example of why it is so important for residents to adhere to the curfew.

“We need people off the roads. It is simply unsafe to be on the roads,” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs.

Because the winds have increased to above 50 mph, Orange County Fire Rescue has stopped operations for now.

Drozd said a rescue vehicle hit a puddle on State Road 408 and hydroplaned into the guardrail.

“We had to leave the vehicle behind,” said Drozd.

The first responders and the patient in the vehicle were OK.

The patient was picked up and taken to the hospital within minutes of the crash.

Drozd said it’s imperative that 911 calls are limited to true emergencies.

“We’re really taxing the system at this point, but right now or units are not responding because of the wind pressure,” said Drozd. 

Millions lose power as Hurricane Irma moves up peninsula (9:15 p.m.)

More than 3.3 million homes and businesses -- and counting -- have lost power in Florida as Hurricane Irma moves up the peninsula.

The widespread outages stretch from the Florida Keys all the way into central Florida.

Hurricane Irma: See power outage maps 

Florida Power & Light, the state's largest electric utility, said there were nearly 1 million customers without power in Miami-Dade County alone.

The power outages are expected to increase as the storm edges further north.

There are roughly 7 million residential customers in the state

Over 50 FDC facilities evacuated for Irma (8:55 p.m.)

Over 50 Florida Department of Corrections facilities have been evacuated as of Sunday evening, according to an FDC release.

The FDC said the safety of staff and inmates is paramount and it is tracking Hurricane Irma to determine if further evacuations are necessary.

FDC institutions in use are receiving emergency stocks of food and water in case regular deliveries are delayed, the release said.

To search for an inmate, visit www.dc.state.fl.us. Relocation information will be available 24 hours after an inmate is moved.

Sunday visitation hours this weekend have been cancelled.

Irma brings fears of surge, sewers and toxins to Tampa area (8:30 p.m.)

As Irma marches up Florida's Gulf Coast toward Tampa Bay, residents fear what the storm will do to an area that hasn't taken a direct hit from a major hurricane since 1921.

From punishing winds to catastrophic storm surge, the area is bracing for devastation. Vulnerable structures range from the towering Sunshine Skyway Bridge to toxic waste sites from the state's phosphorous mining industry.

A 2013 World Bank study that ranked cities according to their vulnerability to major storms placed Tampa at number seven - among all cities in the world.

Read: How will Tampa handle Irma?

"We're going to be inundated with unprecedented amounts of water," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Sunday. "It's going to stress our storm water and sewer capacity. There's going to be overflows. There's no two ways around it."

Irma arrived as a Category 4 storm but had fallen to a Category 2 with 110 mph (177 kph) winds by late Sunday afternoon and was continuing to weaken as it marched up Florida's Gulf Coast. Its center was on track to reach the Tampa Bay area by late Sunday or early Monday.

Key Largo storm rider: Surge left big mess (8:00 p.m.)

It's been difficult to determine the extent of damage Hurricane Irma caused in the Florida Keys, where communication has been difficult and authorities are warning boaters and drivers to stay away.

But The Associated Press has been texting with John Huston, who has been riding out the storm in his house on Key Largo, on the Atlantic side of the island, just south of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Hurricane Irma: Alligator seen scurrying along city street in Melbourne, Fla.

Every few minutes during the height of the storm, he sent another dispatch.

He described whiteout conditions, with howling winds that sucked dry the gulf side of the narrow island, where the tide is usually 8 feet deep. He kept his humor though, texting to "send cold beer" at one point. Now he sees furniture floating down the street with small boats.

 

He says the storm surge was at least 6 feet deep on his island, 76 miles from Irma's eye. He can see now that structures survived, but the storm left a big mess at ground level.

Hurricane Irma to move over Tampa about midnight (7:00 p.m.)

Hurricane Irma should be moving directly over the Tampa Bay area around midnight. Residents of the highly populated area are fearing the worst.

A report by CoreLogic, the global property data firm, found nearly 455,000 Tampa Bay homes could be damaged by storm surges, the most of any major US metro area other than Miami and New York. Rebuilding those homes could cost $81 billion.

The reason Tampa Bay is so vulnerable is that the bay acts as a funnel for storm surges, forcing water into narrow channels with nowhere else to go. 

Fast storm surge in Naples as Irma accelerates (6:30 p.m.)

The National Hurricane Center reports water levels are rising rapidly in Naples from Hurricane Irma's storm surge. A federal tide gauge in Naples reported a 7 foot rise of water in just 90 minutes.

A wind gust of 142 mph was recorded at the Naples Municipal Airport as the storm kept its top sustained wind speed of 110 mph.

Hurricane Irma: More than 2 million accounts without power

Irma has picked up forward speed and is moving inland at 14 mph and its eye is about 25 miles south southeast of Fort Myers.

Orange County mayor urges residents to adhere to curfew (6:15 p.m.)

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs asked that residents adhere to the 7 p.m. curfew. 

Jacobs said "the worst has yet to arrive" and that the only people exempt from the curfew will be those seeking safety or shelter. 

 

 

Irma weakens to category 2 hurricane (5:15 p.m.)

Hurricane Irma has weakened to a Category 2 storm, technically losing its major hurricane status, after making landfall in southwestern Florida. It is hugging the coast as it moves north.

The National Hurricane Center said Irma's winds were at 110 mph, just below major hurricane status, as the center of the still dangerous and wide storm moved farther inland late Sunday afternoon.

Photos: Conditions in Central Fla. as Irma approaches

It was smacking Naples after coming ashore in Marco Island at 3:35 p.m.

The hurricane center said "although weakening is forecast, Irma is expected to remain a hurricane at least through Monday morning."

The center said the eye of Irma should hug Florida's west coast through Monday morning and then push more inland over northern Florida and southwestern Georgia Monday afternoon.

Trump approves major disaster declaration (4 p.m.) 

President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration Sunday, authorizing federal funding to flow directly to Floridians impacted by Hurricane Irma and reimburses local communities and the state government to aid in response and recovery from Irma, according to a release by Gov. Rick Scott.

Read: Merritt Island neighborhoods flooded as Irma hits Florida

Scott requested the declaration earlier in the day.

The Major Disaster Declaration authorizes the following:

  • 100 percent federal reimbursement for thirty days in all counties for emergency protective measures, such as Emergency Operation Center costs, evacuation costs, sheltering costs, and other costs associated with emergency response.
  • After the thirty days, the federal government will reimburse 75 percent of these costs, which includes both local and state expenses
  • 75 percent federal reimbursement for all counties for debris removal
  • Direct federal financial assistance for impacted Florida families in the following counties: Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough; Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pinellas, and Sarasota Counties.

Irma makes landfall as more than 2 million customers lose power (2 p.m.)

Irma made landfall on Marco Island as a Category 3 hurricane Sunday, WFTV chief meteorologist Tom Terry said.

Utility companies said that more than 2 million Florida customers were left in the dark when they lost power as Hurricane Irma slammed the peninsula.

Florida Power & Light said it will be weeks, not days, before electricity is fully restored because of the damage being done by Hurricane Irma.

Read: Huge crane atop Miami high-rise collapses in Irma's winds

An estimated 3.4 million homes and businesses will lose power once the worst of Irma reaches the Florida mainland, spokesman Rob Gould said. He expects thousands of miles of poles and lines will need to be replaced, particularly on the Gulf Coast.

He said 17,000 restoration workers from as far away as California and Massachusetts are already stationed around the state, but it will take time to rebuild the system.

The utility covers much of the state, including most cities on the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf Coast, south of Tampa.  It does not cover Tampa and St. Petersburg, two major cities in Irma's forecast path.

Hurricane Irma roars through Florida Keys (1 p.m.)

Hurricane Irma roared through the Florida Keys on Sunday, with punishing 130 mph winds and began pushing its way north, knocking out power to more than 1.5 million people across the state and collapsing a construction crane over the Miami skyline.

The nearly 400-mile-wide storm is expected to make a slow, ruinous march up Florida’s west coast, straight toward the heavily populated Tampa-St. Petersburg area by Monday morning.

Read: Reported tornado destroys Palm Bay mobile homes

Streets emptied across the bottom half of the Florida peninsula, and some 127,000 people huddled in shelters.

Flooding, roof damage and floating appliances and furniture were reported in the low-lying Keys, but with the storm still hitting around midday, the full extent of Irma’s wrath was not clear.

While the projected track showed Irma raking the state’s Gulf Coast, forecasters warned that the entire state — including the Miami metropolitan area of 6 million people — was in extreme peril from the monster storm.

Tornado hits Palm Bay mobile home park (11:45 a.m.)

A tornado hit a mobile home park in Palm Bay on Indian River Drive, according to Brevard County officials. Six mobile homes were destroyed, officials said. There were no injuries reported.

Photos: Conditions, damage in Central Fla. as Irma approaches

Thousands of Floridians take refuge as Irma approached Florida (10:45 a.m.)

About 127,000 people across the state have taken refuge in more than 500 shelters as Hurricane Irma takes aim at the state, Florida officials said.

The state Division of Emergency Management did not specify which shelters had the most people.

Download: WFTV Weather App

Meanwhile, utility officials were warning that the storm could leave millions without power by the time it finishes moving through the state. Already, more than 1.3 million Florida customers were in the dark on Sunday morning as the hurricane made landfall in the Florida Keys.

Florida Power & Light, the state's largest utility, is reporting on Sunday that many people living in the three populous south Florida counties of Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach are without power. State officials said another 64,000 customers who rely on smaller utilities have also lost electricity.

Irma ties for the seventh strongest storm to make landfall in U.S. (10 a.m.)

Hurricane Irma became tied for the seventh strongest storm to make landfall in U.S. history by a key measurement of atmospheric pressure.

Hurricane Irma made landfall at Cudjoe Key at 9:10 a.m. with a minimum central pressure of 929 millibars. Atmospheric pressure is one of the major measurements meteorologists use to describe storms. The lower the pressure, the stronger the storm.

Photos: Conditions in Central Fla. as Irma approaches

Only six storms on record had lower pressures when striking the United States, including Katrina. When Katrina hit in 2005, it had lower pressure but its wind speed kept it at Category 3.

The 929 pressure mark ties Irma with the deadly 1928 Lake Okeechobee hurricane.

Irma's arrival also marks another first.

Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach said this is the first year on record that the United States has been hit by two storms that were Category 4 upon landfall: Harvey and Irma. 

More than 1 million customers lose power in Florida (9:40 a.m.)

More than 1 million customers in Florida have lost power Sunday as Hurricane Irma hit the state, utility officials said. 

Florida Power & Light Company said that nearly 1.1 million customers statewide were without power Sunday morning.

About 574,000 of those outages were in Miami-Dade County, while there were 360,000 in Broward and nearly 136,000 in Palm Beach County. 

Read: High risk for tornadoes across Central Florida 

The massive storm made landfall in the Florida Keys, and its center was forecast to move up the state's Gulf Coast. But the effects are being felt far from the center because of Irma's size.

3 dead in weather related deaths (8:25 a.m.)

There are three confirmed weather-related deaths in Florida due to Hurricane Irma Sunday, all involving car crashes, according to ABC News.

Photos: Conditions in Miami, Key West as Irma approaches

One of the victims was killed while driving a truck in storm-strength winds in the Florida Keys, ABC News said. 

Irma's center poised to blow across the Florida Keys (8 a.m.)

Hurricane Irma's center is poised to blow across the Florida Keys, forecasters said.

The northern eyewall of the storm reached the island chain early Sunday.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said in a public advisory that the center of the storm remained offshore but was going to make landfall soon.

Read: FEMA releases list of disaster rumors, facts, scams

The storm was centered about 20 miles east of Key West, and it was moving north-northwest at 8 mph.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph.

The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of 90 mph near its Key West office.

After hitting the Florida Keys, Irma was forecast to move up the state's Gulf Coast later Sunday. 

Irma's winds lash Florida (7 a.m.)

Hundreds of thousands of people are without power in Florida as Hurricane Irma's winds and rain lash the state.

Irma's center was over water off Key West early Sunday, but places including Miami were being hit with strong winds and rain.

Watch Live: Channel 9 Eyewitness News

Florida Power & Light Company said that about 430,000 customers were without power Sunday morning.

Miami-Dade County had the most outages with about 250,000. Broward County had 130,000 outages. Palm Beach County had more than 40,000 outages.

The utility said that it has mobilized crews and is working to restore power as it can. 

Irma's eye close to lower Florida Keys (6:10 a.m.)

The eye of Hurricane Irma is very close to the lower Florida Keys.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the Category 4 storm is centered about 30 miles south-southeast of Key West, and is moving northwest at 8 mph.

Irma's maximum sustained winds are near 130 mph.

The hurricane center said Irma is expected to weaken, but it’s expected to remain a powerful hurricane as it moves through the Florida Keys and near Florida's west coast.

Hurricane Irma has regained Category 4 strength (2:20 a.m.) 

Hurricane Irma has regained Category 4 strength as it moves toward Florida, where it’s feared to make a devastating hit.

Irma’s maximum sustained winds increased early Sunday to near 130 mph and it’s expected to gain a little more strength as it moves through the Straits of Florida and remain a powerful hurricane as it approaches Florida.

Irma is centered about 70 miles south-southeast of Key West, Florida, and is moving northwest near 6 mph.

Irma expected to bring life-threatening storm surge to Keys (12 a.m.)

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Irma is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge to the Keys and the west coast of Florida. 

The storm has sustained winds of 120 mph as a Category 3 storm. 

Read: Utility companies prepare for major power outages

The storm's track shifted slightly west but will still have major impacts to the west coast of Florida. 

More than 170,000 homes and businesses are without power in Florida as the storm begins to affect the state. 

Curfews go into effect starting Sunday evening in Flagler, Volusia, Orange and Seminole counties, which will remain in effect through Monday. 

Hurricane Irma: Curfew information

The hurricane-force wind field stretched well over 100 miles. 

If you lose power, watch WFTV here | You can also watch us on YouTube Live

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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