TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — As Irma weakened to a tropical storm Monday morning it continued to move over Florida toward Georgia.
By 8 a.m., the center of the storm was about 100 miles north of Tampa.
As the sun rose in Orlando, many tried to go outside to survey the damage, but authorities warned that conditions remained dangerous and asked people to abide by a curfew that lasts through much of the day.
The National Guard and local fire rescue teams evacuated more than 120 flooding homes in Orange County, just outside Orlando.
Trees and power lines were down across town and floods cut off roads to a neighborhood.
Nearly 4.5 million homes and businesses across Florida had lost power by Monday morning.
And utility officials say it will take weeks to restore electricity to everyone. Farther north, more than 100,000 are in the dark in Georgia.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says that while the city hasn’t escaped Hurricane Irma’s wrath, the situation isn’t as bad as they had feared.
Speaking Monday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Buckhorn said “What we thought was going to be a punch in the face was a glancing blow.”
Buckhorn did say there are a lot of downed power lines and debris.
He said Tampa’s officials have vehicles positioned “to be sure that when that surge comes in we can keep people out of the streets.”
He said he expected power to be out for some sections of Tampa for at least a couple more days.
Police in Miami are investigating reports of people looting stores as Hurricane Irma hit the state.
On Sunday night, Miami police took two people into custody and detained two others.
Deputy Police Chief Luis Cabrera told the Miami Herald the officers went to the Shops at Midtown on Sunday afternoon as the winds of Hurricane Irma were at their strongest in South Florida. Cabrera says a group in a white truck hit multiple locations. Police have also received additional reports of looting in the city.
Police in Lakeland, Florida, say a family with small children was rescued from a car that was submerged in water as Hurricane Irma crossed the area.
Lakeland police said in a Facebook post that officers rescued the family of four early Monday as water reached the children’s car seats. No one was injured and police were able to get the family back to their home.
“When you become a police officer you hope to make a difference in the lives of others,” the Facebook post said. “Tonight, there is no doubt these officers made a difference.”
Lakeland is between Tampa and Orlando, off of Interstate 4.
A Florida sheriff’s sergeant and a paramedic were trapped in a sheriff’s vehicle when a live power pole fell on the cruiser as they were returning from dropping off an elderly patient as Hurricane Irma moved over the state.
Polk County spokesman Kevin Watler said in a news release that Sgt. Chris Lynn and Polk County Fire Rescue paramedic James Tanner Schaill were trapped for about two hours late Sunday.
Crews from Lakeland Electric crews disconnected the lines around 1:15 a.m. Monday. Both men have returned to their jobs to continue assisting hurricane recovery efforts.