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Hurricane Irma smashes into mainland Florida

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Hurricane Irma has made landfall for the second time in Florida as a Category 3 storm near the popular tourist destination of Naples. The storm has prompted flooding in Miami and left millions without power.

The deadly hurricane hit Marco Island at 3:35 p.m. local time (19:35 UTC) on Sunday with winds gusting at 130 miles (209 kilometers) per hour just 15 miles south of Naples, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The Marco Island Police Department told people who hadnt evacuated to evacuate to higher floors of their buildings. Hurricane Irmas powerful winds also created tornados in Floridas Brevard County, which is home to NASAs Cape Canaveral.

The storm led to power outages across the state, with Florida Power & Light reporting that over 2.1 million customers are without power. Around 845,000 of those customers are located in Miami-Dade County. Read more: Hurricane Irma lashes Florida Flooding in Miami Irma threatened to bring dangerous storm surges of up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) in some areas of the state.

The state had issued a mandatory evacuation order for over 6 million people in southern and western Florida, making it one of the largest evacuations in US history. US President Donald Trump told reporters on Sunday that he intends to visit Florida soon after Hurricane Irma passes and praised emergency officials for their work to protect residents.

"The bad news is that this is some big monster," he said, adding: "Right now, we are worried about lives, not cost." Significant damage on Cuba Hurricane Irma killed at least 20 people in the Caribbean and left dozens more injured across several island nations in the Atlantic Ocean.

More than a million people were evacuated in Cuba with the storm causing significant damage with waves up to 9 meters high reported with widespread flooding. Winds were so intense they reportedly damaged the gauge used to measure them. State media reported that people took shelter in tunnels, caves and official emergency shelters.

The Bahamas had a close call, but ultimately escaped the worst of Irmas destructive wrath, with no casualties or major infrastructure damages reported.

rs/jm (AP, AFP, dpa)
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