[Updated] Irma Lashes Florida
Hurricane Irma made landfall at Marco Island, Florida, on Sunday afternoon, knocking out electricity to 2.5 million homes and flooding streets in Miami. At least three have been killed in Florida, a woman has been forced to deliver her own baby and apartment buildings are swaying in high winds.
In the early hours of Monday, Irma weakened to a Category 1 hurricane, carrying maximum sustained winds of about 85 miles per hour (135 km per hour). The hurricane is heading northwest in the center of Florida near Tampa and Orlando. One of the fiercest Atlantic storms in a century, it has already killed at least 28 people in the Caribbean, and storm surge is causing flooding along the U.S. West coast.
U.S. President Donald Trump said the hurricane “ is some big monster” as he praised the nation's emergency services for their efforts. He has declared a major disaster in Florida and ordered federal funds to help pay for recovery work.
About 20 cruise lines have Miami as a home port or a port of call, and many have had to move ships out of the area. Carnival Cruise Lines, Disney and Royal Caribbean have canceled departures as a result of the storm.
The amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) and the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) departed Naval Station Norfolk on September 8 to support possible humanitarian relief operations in the wake of Hurricane Irma. The two ships will be joined by the guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and are capable of providing medical and logistic support, medium and heavy lift air support, and bring a diverse capability for assessing damage and providing aid.