Below are live updates on Irma.
Irma was downgraded as it moved over the western Florida peninsula, the National Hurricane Center said.
The governor warned that Irma “is like” Hurricane Andrew, which hit Florida 25 years prior.
More than 1.3 million of its customers were already without power, said Florida Power & Light (FPL), the state’s biggest utility.
How many people in the dangerously exposed, low-lying islands defied evacuation orders and stayed behind was unclear.
The Mayport Naval Station near Jacksonville recently reported sustained winds of 68 miles per hour and a wind gust of 87 miles per hour. Officials said the arena remained in one piece, but wind-driven water leaked in at the height of the storm.
Many streets were underwater in downtown Miami and in other cities.
That’s because, in this hemisphere, a cyclone rotates counterclockwise, and on the east side of the storm, the “outer bands come on shore at an angle typically bringing winds from the southeast”, CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward said.
Homes destroyed: About a dozen homes were hit by trees and destroyed in Hillsborough County, where Tampa is located, according to an initial assessment by county officials. No injuries were reported in either case.
Florida emergency management officials estimate almost 13 million residents – two-thirds of the state’s population – remain without power. Streets flooded, and flying objects such as coconuts turned into unsafe projectiles.
Tampa Electric told customers yesterday, however, that response crews were halting work because of the high winds.
“Everything is flooded”, he said.
– Storm surge warnings in Florida, Georgia and SC mean “there is a danger of life-threatening inundation”, the hurricane center said. “I’m not really that freaked out, it’s just the storm surge I’m anxious about”, said Chris.
“This storm is no joke for the Florida Keys”, Local 10’s Luke Dorris said.
Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long warned that those who made a decision to stay in Key West “were on their own”. It will continue on its north-northwest track at 17 miles per hour towards Alabama. Irma’s current projected path would see it cross the eastern Florida Panhandle into southern Georgia on Monday afternoon before heading into eastern Alabama.
A weakened but still unsafe Irma pushed inland Monday as it hammered Florida with winds that created hazards for rescuers and flooding that set a record in one city.
Irma hit Cuba’s Ciego de Avila province late Friday as a Category 5 hurricane before it weakened and headed to the United States.
Speaking on “Fox News Sunday” as Irma began its assault on Florida on Sunday morning, Long called the storm a “complex event” in particular because of its movement from the southern part of the state to the north.
Last month, Hurricane Harvey devastated much of coastal Texas and killed more than 70 people.
Are you affected by Irma?