Irma weakened to a tropical storm Monday morning and is expected to further weaken by Tuesday to a tropical depression. But this storm, while wounded, is still dangerous. Both storm surge and inland flooding, which cause the majority of deaths in tropical cyclones, remain a risk over the Southeast states.
Around Jacksonville, a flash flood emergency was in effect through 6:15 p.m. due to record storm surge flooding. The National Weather Service said numerous water rescues were underway.
Charleston, S.C. was also under a flash flood emergency through 8:15 p.m.. “The combination of extremely high tides combined with heavy rain has resulted in widespread, dangerous flooding throughout Downtown Charleston,” the National Weather Service said.
At 2 p.m., Irma had exited Florida and moved into southern Georgia, near Albany, with peak winds of 60 mph. It was plowing to the north-northwest at 17 mph toward southwest Georgia.
Due to the storm’s enormous size, rain and coastal flooding weren’t the only concern. Tropical-storm-force winds, capable of downing trees and causing outages, extended a lengthy 415 miles from the center.
In addition, tornadoes were possible from northeastern Georgia to southeastern South Carolina, where a tornado watch was in effect through 10 p.m.
Storm surge risk
Water levels will continue to be elevated above normally dry land along parts of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts from Central Florida to coastal South Carolina. A storm surge warning extended over these areas, and the National Hurricane Center warned Monday that “life-threatening” coastal inundation remained possible.
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