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Irma Weakens to Category 1 Storm as It Strikes Tampa

Hurricane Irma knocked out power to nearly 4 million homes and businesses in Florida on Sunday

Water flows out of the Miami River to flood a walkway as Hurricane Irma passes through on September 10, 2017 in Miami, Florida.
JOE RAEDLE/AFP

Hurricane Irma remains a dangerous Category 1 hurricane despite weakening a bit more to 85 mph (135 kph). It's now bearing down on the Tampa-St. Petersburg region.

The National Hurricane Center says Irma's eye is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Tampa and moving at a fast clip of 14 mph (22 kph). Still a large hurricane, its tropical storm force winds extend out 415 miles (665 kilometers).

Forecasters say they expert Irma's center to stay inland over Florida and then move into Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.

They also expect Irma to weaken further into a tropical storm over far northern Florida or southern Georgia on Monday as it speeds up its forward motion. The hurricane center says the storm is still life-threatening with dangerous storm surge, wind and heavy rains.

Hurricane Irma knocked out power to nearly 4 million homes and businesses in Florida on Sunday, threatening millions more as it crept up the state's west coast, and full restoration of service could take weeks, local electric utilities said. 

Irma hit Florida on Sunday morning as a dangerous Category 4 storm, the second highest level on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, but by afternoon as it barreled up the west coast, it weakened to a Category 2 with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour (177 kph).