WASHINGTON – The new path forged by Hurricane Irma posed a severe threat to Florida’s west coast and the Florida Keys, the head of the U.S. federal emergency agency said on Sunday, and the storm was bringing tornado watches and warnings around the state.LIVE UPDATES: Tracking Hurricane Irma’s path“This is a worst case scenario for Monroe County, the Florida Keys and the west coast of Florida,” Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told the Fox News Sunday program.WATCH: Scenes from Florida “Any time you’re in that northeast quadrant as the storm is moving forward, that’s where the maximum radius winds are that define the intensity of the storm,” he said. “That’s where the storm surge is most prevalent and the inland winds are going to be tough.”READ MORE: Hurricane Irma northern eyewall reaches lower Florida KeysIrma, which prompted one of the largest evacuations in U.S. history, is expected to cause billions of dollars in damage to the third-most-populous U.S. state, a major tourism hub, with an economy comprising about 5 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. Irma was a Category 4 hurricane raging in the lower Florida Keys as of 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT), on a path that will take it up Florida’s Gulf of Mexico coast near population centers including Tampa and St. Petersburg, the NHC reported. Forecasters also warned tornadoes could form in large portions of the state.READ MORE: Caribbean island paradises grapple with hellish aftermath of Hurricane Irma Irma, which killed at least 22 people as it tore through Caribbean islands toward Florida, has already claimed at least two lives in the state. Emergency responders in the Florida Keys said they pulled a man’s body from his pickup truck, which had crashed into a tree in high winds.
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