Irma Makes Landfall in Florida's Lower Keys as a Category 4 Hurricane

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Irma Makes Landfall in Florida's Lower Keys as a Category 4 Hurricane

Hurricane Irma knocked out power to over 1.3 million homes and businesses in south Florida on Sunday and threatened to leave millions more in the dark as it marched up the state's west coast through the rest of the day.

Irma was downgraded from a hurricane to tropical storm Monday, but that did little to lessen the threat of more destruction in the coming hours.

It has been reported that four people have lost their lives across southern Florida in road accidents.

In the Keys, where the storm roared ashore on Sunday morning with winds of 130mph, search crews planned door-to-door checks on residents.

Almost 4,000,000 people were without power throughout the state and the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), William Long, informed that some places will be without electricity for weeks.

One of the most powerful hurricanes ever to make US landfall has left millions of people across Florida without power. The St. Johns River rose to record levels, flooding major roadways.

Now a tropical storm with sustained winds of up to 70 miles per hour (110 km per hour), Irma was located about 35 miles (56 km) west of Gainesville and headed up the Gulf Coast, the National Hurricane Center said.

Flash floods and up to 15 inches of rain were expected as the storm continued on its northwest path. Miami saw winds up to 159km/h.

In Jacksonville, record-breaking flooding from Irma's storm surge continues to affect the city.

At least 36 people were killed in the Caribbean as Irma ravaged a string of resort islands long known as holiday playgrounds for the rich. Meanwhile, no one is allowed into the Keys.

Authorities plan to fly over the Keys on Monday, officials said.

- One person was found dead in Orange County in a single-car accident linked to the storm, police said without providing details. The fifth fatality was reported in Orange County, which is near Orlando, after a auto crash that was deemed related to the hurricane. At least 35 people were killed in the Caribbean.

The Keys were under mandatory evacuation orders as Irma neared, but not everyone left.

Even as glimmers of hope emerged from parts of the state forecasters once anxious would be razed by the storm, the fate of the Florida Keys, where Irma rumbled through with Category 4 muscle, remained largely a question mark.

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