Irma now a tropical storm, but still lashing Florida and Georgia

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After Jose is predicted to become a tropical storm, the hurricane center's cone of probability forecasts it will regain hurricane strength Thursday and loop away from the United States by early Sunday morning.

Irma is moving toward the north-northwest near 17 miles per hour, and a turn toward the northwest is expected by Tuesday morning.

Miami on Florida's east coast and Naples on the west coast were among the worst hit by Irma.

Irma will continue to weaken through the day and is expected to be downgraded to a tropical depression by Tuesday.

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By noon Monday more than 500,000 customers in Georgia were without power and there were widespread reports of downed trees. "Best word I could say is war zone", he said on Twitter. Irma did not cause as much damage in Florida as some forecasters had feared.

Hurricane Irma made its way to the Tampa Bay area late last night and is now crawling up Florida's spine, slinging brutal winds and rain across the state.

"Stay off the roads, stay off the streets, let us complete our assessment, clear the roads of water, power lines, trees and then you can get out there and determine what happened to your individual property or your neighborhood", Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler told CNN.

The city of Jacksonville, population 880,000, in northeast Florida ordered urgent evacuations Monday as record floods were set to rise even higher with the afternoon's high tide.

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Hurricane Irma, despite having weakened past its transit over Cuba, still has enough power to slam Florida's Gulf Coast with sheets of rain and surging winds.

The storm has been blamed for more than 40 deaths, including six in Florida. Irma cut a devastating track across 10 Caribbean countries and territories, killing at least 28 people there.

"Our goal is don't put any more lives at risk", he said, adding that the current major threat is flooding in the northern part of the state.

The storm affected communities miles inland from Jacksonville, as strong winds blew over part of a Chevron gas station in the city of Live Oak.

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It is not known how the Florida citrus industry forecast will be impacted by the weather system, with the first official forecast of the season due on 12 October.

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