ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Key West experienced hurricane-force winds Saturday night as Hurricane Irma maintained its Category 3 status with 120 mph winds.
The hurricane hit Cuba's north coast overnight, causing it lose some of its intensity. However, a 120-mph storm is just that: a life-threatening hurricane with the potential to cause destructive damage.
Meteorologists say the storm is striking South Florida with squalls with embedded tornados.
Irma is about 90 miles southeast of Key West as of the 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, update from the National Hurricane Center. It is moving northwest at 6 mph.
The minimum central pressure is 933 mb.
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Numerous hurricane warnings and watches are in effect, including the Tampa Bay region and all of south Florida. This means people can expect hurricane-force winds in excess of 74 mph within the next 36 hours.
A complete rundown of watches and warnings is available, here: Hurricane-force winds expected across Tampa Bay; warnings in effect
As Irma's track continues to shift west, the impacts to Tampa Bay continue to grow.
The biggest impacts of this storm are damaging winds and storm surge. Winds up to 120 mph are possible, especially late Sunday into early Monday morning. So, too, are the possibility of quick spin-up tornadoes.
A 5-9 foot storm surge is possible starting late Saturday into Sunday for southwest Florida. About 5-7 feet are possible in Tampa Bay.
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