Hurricane Irma weakened to a tropical storm Monday morning as it was grinding along Florida’s northwest coast, drenching the Tampa Bay region and lashing buildings with 85 mph winds after hammering the southern half of the state the previous day.
Irma roared through the Florida Keys on Sunday with punishing winds before pushing its way north, flooding streets, spawning tornadoes, knocking out power to more than 3 million people across the state and snapping massive construction cranes over the Miami skyline.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that Irma would continue moving north over the western Florida peninsula through Monday morning and then into the southeastern United States late Monday and Tuesday.
There were no confirmed deaths blamed on the storm in the U.S. as of early Monday morning, but four people have lost their lives across southern Florida in vehicle accidents which may well be blamed on the storm once police have a chance to investigate. The storm left at least 27 people dead as it tore.
Nearly 7 million people in the Southeast were warned to evacuate, including 6.4 million in Florida alone.
Follow along below for live updates on the storm. All times are Eastern unless otherwise noted.
9:40 a.m.: As Irma hits U.S., Trump remembers 9/11 victims
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have arrived at the Pentagon, where a ceremony was being held to remember the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Shortly after arriving, Mr. Trump laid a wreath in honor of the victims killed at the Pentagon. The president and first lady earlier held a moment of silence at the White House.
Mr. Trump was expected to deliver remarks along with Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford. You can watch their remarks in the player above.
8:56 a.m.: Irma leaves nearly 4.5 million in the dark
Nearly 4.5 million homes and businesses across Floridaas Irma moves over the state.
And utility officials say it will take weeks to restore electricity to everyone. Farther north, more than 100,000 are in the dark in Georgia.
Much of eastern Alabama and coastal South Carolina are under tropical storm warnings as Irma…