Florida Gov. Rick Scott: 76K people without power as Irma unleashes winds, rain on the state; outages expected to grow

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 09: The skyline is seen as the outerbands of Hurricane Irma start to reach Florida on September 9, 2017 in Miami, Florida. Florida is in the path of the Hurricane which may come ashore at category 4. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Rick Scott: 76K people without power as Irma unleashes winds, rain on the state; outages expected to grow.

Hurricane Irma was expected to restrengthen after weakening late Saturday morning into a Category 3 storm, its strong winds and rain bands already lashing the Florida Keys as dire warnings predicteddevastating gales and potentially deadly storm surge.

Packing sustained winds of 125 mph as it continued to batter Cuba, the storm was due to bring hurricane conditions by Saturday night to southern and central Florida, the National Hurricane Center said.

Irma’s eye was due to strike part of the Florida Keys early Sunday morning before driving up the state’s southwestern coast toward Tampa Bay by Sunday afternoon, according to the hurricane center. As much as 20 inches of rain was predicted through Wednesday across the Florida peninsula and southeast Georgia.

Eversource announced Friday that they will send close to 100 Eversource employees from Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire to help assist energy companies in the power restoration efforts.

This story is developed and will be updated as more detail become available.