weather

Updated at 5:30 a.m. ET Wednesday

Even though Maria has weakened to a Category 4 storm, it remains a dangerous hurricane. Maria's maximum sustained winds are near 155 mph. The National Hurricane Center says the storm should keep that intensity until it makes landfall. Puerto Rico has long been spared from a direct hit by a hurricane.

Updated at 2:20 a.m. ET Wednesday

National Hurricane Center

MIAMI (AP) — The latest on tropical weather in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (all times local):

11:10 a.m., Sunday, Sept. 17

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Jose is growing stronger off the East Coast of the U.S., with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph (150 kph).

Forecasters say the storm is expected to cause dangerous surf and rip currents.

C.M. Guerrero / Miami Herald

Florida Power & Light officials say it could be more than 10 days before power is restored to all customers who are in the dark due to Hurricane Irma.

FP&L spokesperson Rob Gould said restoration to nearly all customers in the eastern half of the state should be completed by Sunday night.

The company expects power to be restored to western Florida — more heavily damaged by the storm — by Sept. 22.

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Bryan Woolston/Reuters

More than half of Florida’s population is estimated to have lost power because of Hurricane Irma. Many of the nearly 7 million Floridians who remained without power Tuesday will likely have to wait weeks before it's restored.

A massive but weakened Hurricane Irma zeroed in on the Tampa Bay region early Monday after hammering much of Florida with roof-ripping winds, gushing floodwaters and widespread power outages.

Updated at 9:13 p.m. on Sept. 10, 2017 

Hurricane Irma is moving northward, and dangerous storm surges are expected along the west coast of Florida, according to an 8 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center.  

Joe Raedle / Getty Images via the Miami Herald

The Miami-Dade County shelter for people with special medical needs is full; pre-registration was required and about 2200 people are already in place.

County officials say if people with medical conditions did not pre-register for the special shelter, but are able to get to another shelter that’s not full, they should not be turned away from other shelters and should come prepared with necessary medication and equipment.

Residents who have a complex medical condition and need medical supervision, should call 311 for guidance, according to County Officials.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN News

As projections place the eye of Hurricane Irma farther west, some people have decided to leave the shelter at Falcon Cove Middle School, located in Weston and ride out the storm in their homes.

They’ve been walking out with their water and mattresses on their back.

John Mejia arrived at the shelter Friday night with his family. On Saturday morning, he rolled his blue cooler out of the shelter and packed it into the family van to drive back to their Weston home, built after Hurricane Andrew.

Monique O. Maddan / Miami Herald

At a shelter in Miami Edison High School on Friday night, Miami's city commissioner Francis Suarez said a new round of shelter openings — including Miami Northwestern High School and Shenandoah Middle School — will help Overtown residents.

Previously, Overtown residents had received mixed messages about whether or not the Booker T. Washington High School would be used as an evacuation shelter. 

And, Suarez says, the ride-sharing company Lyft has given $10,000 to help low-income people throughout the city of Miami evacuate.

Flickr

Irma? There's an app for that.

Officials are encouraging South Florida residents to download smartphone apps for last-minute storm prep and to keep updated during the hurricane and its aftermath.

Among the suggested apps:

Florida Power and Light app: To monitor power outages

Florida 511: For real-time traffic updates

Gas Buddy: Shows gas stations and prices based on location

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Key West has seen a lot of hurricanes over the years — but the island itself hasn't had a direct hit since 1919 (though there were a couple of near misses, with Hurricane Georges moving across the Lower Keys in 1998 and Wilma swamping the island from the west in 2005).

Some islanders attribute that string to the supernatural - the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto.

Dedicated in 1922 by the Catholic community in the Keys to honor Sister Louis Gabriel, the grotto is located next to what is now the Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea. 

This post was updated on Sept. 10, 2017 at 10:46 a.m.  

As Hurricane Irma slams into the Florida Keys and brings hurricane-force winds and storm surges to South Florida, residents are hunkered down in emergency shelters. And while some shelters have closed their doors for the most dangerous storm conditions, you should still know what your evacuation zone is and where to go.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and locally elected officials urged south Floridians to obtain several days worth of food, water and medicine and finish fortifying their homes against Hurricane Irma by Friday evening, before strong winds are expected to arrive.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The slight veer south in the projected track of Hurricane Irma led some Florida Keys holdouts to hit the road Friday.

The entire Florida Keys island chain has been under a mandatory evacuation order for residents since Wednesday evening.

Still, some residents are sticking it out. Including Kerry and Diane Shelby of Key West.

"The entire state of Florida's evacuating. So we looked at both options and it just looked a little too difficult to get out," Kerry Shelby said. "So we decided we were on the good side of the storm, we were going to stay here."

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