Hurricane Irma will Leave Millions Without Power

The National Weather Service says the first hurricane-force wind gust has been recorded in the Florida Keys as Irma inches closer to the state. "But I'm also very concerned about the storm surge".

"With a storm of this magnitude and intensity, each hour of preparation counts in order to keep delivering power to our customers and restoring it once the storm has passed". Irma made landfall on Marco Island off Florida's west coast at 15:35 local time (19:35 GMT) on Sunday, with winds of up to 120mph.

Florida emergency management officials estimate almost 13 million residents - two-thirds of the state's population - remain without power.

Irma made landfall on the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane Sunday, but the full extent of the damage there is still unknown. Officials said the arena remained in one piece, but wind-driven water leaked in at the height of the storm.

Water is receding from parts of downtown Miami that flooded, with as much as four to six feet of water in the financial district. "What's going to happen now?" "Absolutely devastating damage for the Florida Keys and the southern tip of Florida is virtually certain with this type of a storm".

As anxious Florida residents watched weather forecasts this week, it seemed clear Hurricane Irma was on track to strike Miami, Fort Lauderdale and other Atlantic coast cities, prompting a massive evacuation. "I know for our entire state, especially the Keys, it's going to be a long road".

5pm-11pm Monday: Right now this looks like the worst of it with heavy rain, continued high winds with gusts as high as 60 miles per hour in northeast GA. "It's frightful, what we saw".

The figure represents nearly 60% of the state's electricity users, who were still experiencing power outage as of 9 p.m. EDT Monday, according to the state's Division of Emergency Management.

North-eastern Florida cities including Jacksonville were facing flash flooding, with the sheriff's office pulling residents from waist-deep water. Its outer bands were also blowing into Georgia, where the storm's center was expected to arrive later in the day. "If you're outside, get inside and shelter in place".

People in the heavily populated Tampa-St.

A tropical storm warning was issued for the first time ever in Atlanta, some 200 miles from the sea. Winds should diminish fairly quickly around daybreak Tuesday and into the afternoon as Irma weakens.

Irma hit Cuba's Ciego de Avila province late Friday as a Category 5 hurricane before it weakened and headed to the United States. Irma's current projected path would see it cross the eastern Florida Panhandle into southern Georgia on Monday afternoon before heading into eastern Alabama.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said the situation was not as bad as it could have been, but warned residents that risky storm surge continued.

  • Jacqueline Ellis