(Reuters) - Hurricane Irma was losing strength as its center moved toward the northwestern coast of the Florida Peninsula on Monday and was forecast to weaken to a tropical storm during the day and to a tropical depression by Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
Irma, once ranked as one of the most powerful hurricanes recorded in the Atlantic, was about 60 miles (100 km) north of Tampa, Florida, carrying maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour (120 km per hour), the center said in a 5 a.m. ET (0900 GMT) advisory.
Irma's center would cross the eastern Florida Panhandle into southern Georgia on Monday afternoon, then move through southwestern Georgia and eastern Alabama on Monday evening and Tuesday, the NHC forecast.
(Reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; Editing by Frances Kerry)