Irma, now a Category 2 hurricane, climbs Florida’s coast; Trump approves disaster declaration

Florida [U.S.A.], September 11 : Hurricane Irma has slammed into southwest Florida, threatening to bring dangerous storm surges to coastal areas already battered by the hurricane's powerful winds.

The National Hurricane Center has further said, in its latest advisory, that Irma, now a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph, is about 5 miles north of Naples, Florida.

Furthermore, United States President Donald Trump has approved a request from Florida for a disaster declaration ordering federal aid to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts.

The action makes federal funding available in nine counties, including Miami-Dade and Hillsborough, which covers Tampa.

Earlier, the center of Hurricane Irma made a landfall in the Marco Island, near Naples, in southwest Florida as a Category 3 hurricane.

The Marco Island Police Department reported a 130 mph wind gust . The Naples Municipal Airport also reported a gust of 142 mph, near reports of 135mph gust and sustained winds of 93mph - the most powerful recorded gusts on the mainland.

This was the second landfall in Florida. Irma hit Cudjoe Key earlier in the day as a Category 4 storm. A crane was also reported to have partially collapsed at a construction site on NE 31st Street. This was the second construction crane to collapse in the city. Earlier, with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph, Hurricane Irma was downgraded to Category 3, the National Weather Service said.

Category-4 Hurricane Irma began its assault on Florida, the south-easternmost U.S. state earlier on Sunday, with the storm's northern eyewall reaching the lower Florida Keys on Sunday after making landfall in Cuba.

More than 5,60,000 residents across 19 counties in south and central Florida are without power, according to Florida Power and Light Department.

A few records that Irma has broken are: - Irma is the strongest Atlantic basin hurricane ever recorded outside the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea -It spent three days as a Category 5 hurricane, the longest Category 5 hurricane since satellite storm-tracking began -It prompted the largest evacuation in the history of the Bahamas.

Source: ANI