Irma weakens to Category 1 Hurricane but still poses threat

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The storm is plowing into Georgia and others parts of the Deep South - Alabama, Tennessee and the Carolinas - bringing the danger of life-threatening storm surge and hazardous winds.

- More than 17,000 customers have already lost power in Savannah, Georgia. Hundreds of thousands of people are without power and millions have taken authorities' strenuous advice and evacuated from the path of the storm, which is expected to hit the west of the state hardest.

The Keys could get between 10 and 20 inches of rain, and the Florida peninsula could get 8 to 15 inches.

Heavy winds in Miami Beach.

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According to Florida's Division of Emergency Management some 5.6 million residents have been ordered to evacuate - almost a quarter of the state population. Not everyone heeded the calls.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4's Today programme he said: "I am confident that we are doing everything we possibly can to help British nationals, but you must understand there half a million of them affected".

"Truthfully, the whole state of Florida is in trouble". He said he and his neighbors have generators, batteries, food and water and other supplies.

"What we feared the most was the surge", he said on MSNBC.

Tornado warnings have been issued for Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach and Sunrise in Broward County, as well as parts of nearby Palm Beach and Hendry Counties.

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The sheriff's office said Golden Gate Estates and many mobile home parks across the county are also dealing with damage.

"What we think we'll see on the west coast is a wholesale rebuild of our electric grid", Robert Gould, Florida Power & Light's vice president and chief communications officer, told ABC News.

Prices rising 25 percent or more over pre-storm costs, without a justifiable reason, could be considered price gouging, Marshall said.

Gastesi says they are "prepared for the worst".

Residents and holidaymakers were ordered to stay indoors until the storm had passed, with many Brits left holed up in apartments or hotel rooms. The Miami-Dade Police Department begged the public not to venture out of their homes or shelters for any reason.

"Right now, we are anxious about lives, not cost", he told reporters.

Miami, was spared the brunt of the storm but was still battered. "The hurricane seems to be going away from us, but that doesn't mean it's going to keep going away, so be vigilant".

As the hurricane moves north and the wind directions change, the water will start to rush back in and storm surge flooding will occur.

Irma destroyed about one-third of the buildings on the Dutch-ruled portion of the eastern Caribbean island of St Martin en route to Florida, the Dutch Red Cross said on Tuesday. In the Caribbean, at least 24 were people were killed during Irma's destructive trek across exclusive islands known as the vacation playground for the rich.

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