Irma spins up funnel clouds, tornado in Florida - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Irma spins up funnel clouds, tornado in Florida

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(AP) -

Hurricane Irma is starting to spin up funnel clouds and at least one tornado, leading to warnings for parts of South Florida.

The National Weather Service in Miami posted on Twitter Saturday evening that a tornado had touched the ground in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Oakland Park.

It wasn't immediately clear how much damaged was caused.

Tornado warnings have been issued for Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach and Sunrise in Broward County, as well as parts of nearby Palm Beach and Hendry Counties.

Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Rick Scott is urging Floridians to be "patient" and not quickly rush back to their homes once Irma passes.

He says the massive storm is likely to cause widespread damage and that people should stay away until they are told by local officials that they can return.

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Authorities say they are investigating whether Irma's wind and rains contributed to a fatal crash in the Florida Keys.

Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay said Saturday that first responders patrolling during a lull in the storm found the man's truck wrapped around a tree.

The sheriff says after receiving a report of the crash, his office found a tow truck that quickly removed the truck and body for safekeeping.

The Florida Highway Patrol will investigate when it is safe. The man's identity was not released.

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Hurricane Irma has weakened to a Category 3 storm with 120 mph winds, but it's expected to regain its strength before slamming into Florida.

The storm has been pounding Cuba, and forecasters say it will get stronger once it moves away.

Irma is expected to hit the Florida Keys Sunday morning and then Tampa.

The National Hurricane Center warned in a Saturday advisory that the storm will bring "life-threatening wind" to much of the state regardless of its exact path.

Forecasters also predict storm surges of up to 15 feet in southwestern Florida and rainfall up to 25 inches in the Keys.

The hurricane warning for Florida's west coast has been extended to the Aucilla River, just south of Tallahassee, and the watch pushed west to Indian Pass on Florida's Panhandle.

The hurricane warning for Florida's east coast has been pushed further north to Fernandina Beach, with the hurricane watch further north to Edisto Beach.
 

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