Irma weakens to tropical storm in Florida: forecasters

A fallen tree toppled by Hurricane Irma blocks a street in downtown Miami, on September 11, 2017 (AFP Photo/SAUL LOEB) (AFP)

Miami (AFP) - Irma weakened early Monday to a tropical storm as it continued on a northward path through Florida, the National Hurricane Center said.

However, it was still producing "some wind gusts to near hurricane force."

As of 8 am (1200 GMT), Irma was about 105 miles (170 kilometers) northwest of Tampa, with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (110 kilometers per hour).

Early reports of Irma's aftermath seemed to show that damage in Florida from the massive storm were not as bad as initially feared.

Television footage showed trees down and buildings with exterior damage, though people were able to make their way through muddy or lightly flooded streets.

The storm had carved a path of destruction through the Caribbean last week, where it was blamed for at least 27 deaths.

It slammed into the Florida Keys island chain as a powerful Category Four storm on Sunday. Irma was linked to three deaths in Florida.