Over 7.4 million lose power from Irma in US Southeast - utilities


Florida utility officials say more than 1 million customers have lost power as Hurricane Irma hits the state.

One woman in Miami's Little Haiti neighbourhood delivered her own baby, with medical personnel coaching her on the phone because emergency responders were not able to reach her, the city of Miami said on Twitter.

The storm has 60 miles per hour sustained winds with stronger gusts possible.

Speaking on Sunday Florida's governor Rick Scott said: "People ask what they can do for us". From Miami to Naples and Tampa, popular beaches up and down the coast bore the brunt of Irma's strength as powerful, and unsafe, storm surges continued on Monday. FEMA chief Brock Long said some areas of South Florida will not have electrical power for weeks.

Washington, Sep 11 (Prensa Latina) Hurricane Irma fell today to category 1 and its sustained maximum winds dropped to 120 kilometers per hour as it moves along the northwestern coast of the U.S. state of Florida. Water topped USA 1 in Monroe County, cutting off the Keys.

The state's largest city, Miami, was spared the brunt of the storm but was still battered. Cities flooded, power lines were downed and trees were uprooted across the state. Gov. All causeways leading to Miami Beach were closed by police.

Hurricane Irma has been downgraded from a category three hurricane to category one on Monday but remains a force to be reckoned with after blasting up the west coast of Florida.

Florida Power & Light, the state's major electricity provider, says it has almost 20,000 workers deployed around the state.

"As soon as the wind shifts direction, the water will come back quickly and continue to move inland", CNN meteorologist Judson Jones said.

Irma prompted the largest evacuation in US history of 7 million residents, or 30%, of Florida's population, according to Accuweather. Some 200,000 were housed in shelters during the storm, according to federal officials.

Around 3.5 million Florida residents have been left without power, according to data from the Florida Power & Light Company. But risky storm surges started to follow.

The eye of the storm will keep moving north Monday, and forecasters expect Irma to bring heavy rain and flooding to Florida and the southeast USA over the coming days.