Hurricane Irma hits northwestern coast, weakens; tropical storm warning canceled for S. Fla.

Update, 5:45 a.m.: The National Weather Service has dropped the tropical storm warning for South Florida.

Update 5 a.m.: Hurricane Irma continues to move across Florida’s northwestern coast, weakening as it goes.

Currently it is 55 miles east-southeast of Cedar Key and about 100 miles north of Tampa. Irma is still a Category 1, but barely, with 75-mile-an-hour winds.

Irma is expected to become a tropical storm as it crosses into Georgia.

Update 2 a.m.: Hurricane Irma has weakened to a Category 1 hurricane with top winds up  to 85 mph  as it moves 25 miles northeast  of Tampa. Irma is projected to become a tropical storm later today as it moves toward the Georgia border.

It is moving northwest at 15 mph, and  can’t get out of Florida fast enough to suit most residents.

“Irma has a very large wind field,” a 2 a.m. advisory from the  National Weather Service noted. Residents of Palm Beach County probably do not need to be told that, as gusts pounded southeast Florida for hours on end. Winds are expected to ease to below 40 mph in the county by daybreak.

Daylight brings a chance to assess the damage across the state.

Update 1 a.m.: Hurricane Irma sustains Category 2 hurricane winds of 100 mph as its center moves 15 miles southwest of Lakeland.

It is still moving north at 14 mph.

Clearwater Beach measured a gust of 96 mph, bu high winds persisted much farther away and forecasters warned against venturing out because of a variety of hazards.

“Flooding is occurring across Florida with Hurricane Irma, ” the National Weather Service tweeted. “At night it can be impossible to see. Stay indoors!”

The intracoastal waterway splashes over the sea wall in West Palm Beach as Hurricane Irma moves through Florida Sunday.. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)


Midnight: The  center of Hurricane Irma moved 25 miles south of Lakeland by midnight with 100 mph top winds, but it sent relentless gusts and rain for more than 400 miles from its center and refused to go quietly across South Florida including Palm Beach County.

The storm was moving 14 mph north, but forecasters left a tropical storm warning in place from Jupiter Inlet south as Sunday came to a close.

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