Florida Keys compared to 'war zone' after Category 4 Irma rakes islands

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Irma, which was expected to cause billions of dollars in damage to the third-most-populous U.S. state, it hit just days after the Houston area was deluged by unprecedented flooding from Hurricane Harvey, which dumped more than 127cm of rain in parts of Texas.

However, Irma is expected to fizzle out over land while Hurricane Jose will make a loop before moving west again.

Irma was once the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the open Atlantic, a Category 5 with a peak wind speed of 185 miles per hour. It has weakened into a post-tropical cyclone and was expected to further fizzle out throughout the day, bringing "generally moderate rain" to a wide area of the Southeast and Tennessee and OH valleys, according to the National Weather Service.

Irma is now a strong tropical storm with sustained winds around the northern edge of the center of circulation as high as 70mph, along with some higher gusts. Had the centre of Irma hit Florida 32-50 kilometres to the east "it would have been much worse".

"Now we just begin the rebuilding process" Curry said Tuesday morning.

Florida Keys compared to 'war zone' after Category 4 Irma rakes islands
Florida Keys compared to 'war zone' after Category 4 Irma rakes islands

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

Irma's powerful eye landed in the Keys as a Category 4 hurricane Sunday morning, swelling waterways to an estimated 10 to 15 feet in some areas, CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano reports. Irma is now over Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee. Last week it killed at least 37 people as it crossed the Caribbean.

Irma is forecast to weaken into a tropical depression by Tuesday afternoon as it moves near the northwestern coast of the Florida peninsula and cross into southern Georgia this afternoon and eastern Alabama tonight and Tuesday.

Images out of Polk County, Florida shows the devastation occurring as first responders attempted to go out into the storm.

The region has not been hit by a major hurricane since 1921. A high school in Homestead, a city in which 90 percent of its residents were without electricity on Monday, lost its roof. The officials also instructed residents to beware of downed power lines.

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