Along the Gulf Coast, two manatees became stranded after Hurricane Irma sucked the water out of Sarasota Bay, in Florida’s Manatee County.
The National Hurricane Center said Irma’s winds were at 110 miles per hour (177 kph), just below major hurricane status, as the center of the still unsafe and wide storm moved farther inland.
Hurricane Irma will likely have diminished in strength by the time it reaches Cobb County early this week, but flooding is still a possibility in north Georgia, according to the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.
The Keys felt Irma’s full fury when the storm blew ashore as a Category 4 hurricane on Sunday morning with 209km/h winds. Strong winds, heavy rainfall and tornado sightings were reported early Sunday morning.
In one of the largest US evacuations, almost 7 million people in the Southeast were warned to seek shelter elsewhere, including 6.4 million in Florida alone. About 110,000 people remained in shelters statewide.
Hurricane Irma is blamed for killing at least 40 people across the Caribbean.
Over the weekend, Irma claimed its first US fatality – a man found dead in a pickup truck that had crashed into a tree in high winds in the town of Marathon, in the Florida Keys, local officials said.
Meanwhile, search-and-rescue teams located in Orlando and other staging areas were waiting out the storm until it was safe enough to go out and assess the extent of the damage and injuries. The state’s biggest city, situated about 100 miles (160 km) east of Irma’s core, was anything but unscathed. One concern which continues is the potential for flooding in downtown Jacksonville as the south winds push St. Johns River water northward.
The islands of the Florida Keys and western parts of the state bore the brunt of the category-four hurricane.
Before turning on Florida, the storm pummeled Cuba with 36-foot-tall (11-m) waves after ravaging several smaller Caribbean islands.
Miami-Dade has 43 shelters open for Hurricane Irma – by far, the most in county history – and about 31,000 people are inside them.
More than 3.3 million homes and businesses across the state lost power, and utility officials said it will take weeks to restore electricity to everyone. Another person died in Miami-Dade County from carbon monoxide poisoning after using a generator indoors, according to the Miami-Dade mayor’s office. High-rise buildings around the area undoubtedly experienced similar conditions. “There’s nothing there”, Manon Brunet-Vita said as she walked through the streets of Grand Case. Firefighters later took her to the hospital. Southbound US Route 1 – the only road connecting the Keys – is closed, Florida Keys spokesman Andy Newman said. Cruise ships that extended their voyages and rode out the storm at sea began returning to port with thousands of passengers.
The new course threatened everything from Tampa Bay’s bustling twin cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg to Naples’ mansion- and yacht-lined canals, Sun City Center’s sprawling compound of modest retirement homes, and Sanibel Island’s shell-filled beaches.
“I own my house”.
He said boats were cast ashore, water, sewers and electricity were knocked out, and “I don’t think I saw one trailer park where nearly everything wasn’t overturned”.
With Harvey hitting Houston in late August, 2017 is the first year that the United States was hit by two category 4 Atlantic hurricanes.
Most outages were still in FPL’s service area in the southern and eastern parts of Florida.
“The bad news is that this is some big monster”, Trump told reporters at the White House, saying damage from the storm would be very costly.