Irma battered central Cuba, knocking down power lines, uprooting trees and ripping the roofs off homes before it headed toward Florida.
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Downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, Irma flooded several northern Florida cities with heavy rain and a high surge of seawater Monday, as residents of the part of the state first walloped by the storm tried to return to their homes.Irma, once ranked as one of the most powerful hurricanes recorded in the Atlantic, cut power to millions of people and ripped roofs off homes as it hit a wide swath of Florida over the past day.With sustained winds of up to 105 kilometers per hour, Irma was located about 113 kilometers east of the Florida state capital Tallahassee and headed toward the Georgia border, the National Hurricane Center said at 11 a.m. local time.Irma hit Florida after powering through the Caribbean as a rare Category 5 hurricane, the top rung of the Saffir-Simpson scale.Traveling through central Florida early Monday, Irma brought gusts of up to 161 kph and torrential rain to areas around Orlando, one of the most popular areas for tourism in the state because of its cluster of theme parks, the National Weather Service said.Ahead of Irma's arrival, some 6.5 million people in southern Florida, about a third of the state's population, were ordered to evacuate their homes.
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