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Irma weakens to tropical storm

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY —Hurricane Irma weakened to a tropical storm early Monday, but is still producing some wind gusts to near hurricane force.

Irma is traveling north-northwest at 18 mph with 70 mph winds, according to weather meteorologists. It’s moving rapidly across the western Florida peninsula.

Hurricane warnings for Indian River County have dropped and were replaced with Tropical Storm warnings. Driving is still considered dangerous and all bridges to the barrier islands remain closed.

County officials are working with the Florida Department of Transportation crews to complete the structural surveys required to open the bridges .

Law enforcement and fire rescue crews are combing the streets doing preliminary damage assessments. Once the road is clear of debris and other hazards, officials will give an all clear for commuters.

There are no reports of loss of life in the county because of Hurricane Irma, officials said.

Nearly two-thirds of the county remains without power, according to the Indian River County Emergency Services Department. Crews are working to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.

City of Vero Beach customers should report power outages to 772-978-5000 and Florida Power & Light Co. customers should report outages to 1-800-4-OUTAGE.

Some parts of the county were flooded with 8 to 12 inches of rain. Several tornado warnings were issued Sunday, but the county saw no tornado touchdowns.

Most of the traffic signals in the county also are still not working. Every intersection commuters drive to should be treated as a four-way stop.

Residents are urged to be patient and not wander outside until it’s safe. Those who have damage to their home should not call 911, but report the damage to their homeowner’s insurance as soon as possible.

Residents also are reminded to check their food in the fridge or freezer to see if it has spoiled before eating. Those who use generators should operate them in a well-ventilated area outside of the home and garage.

Anyone with more questions should call the Hurricane Irma hotline at 772-226-3930.

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