The destruction caused by the hurricane is so intense it's jeopardizing Florida's bustling tourism industry.
The hurricane made a landfall in lower Florida Keys just before 9 am (local time) with wind gusting 130 miles per hour.
Tropical Storm Irma is continuing to weaken as she moves toward Georgia. Here's Florida's governor, Rick Scott.
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"As the storm approaches from the south, places like Tampa and Port Charlotte are getting strong winds out of the northeast", CNN meteorologist Judson Jones said of the phenomenon. Do not think the storm is over when the wind slows down.
Irma struck the US mainland today (Sept. 10), making landfall in Florida at 9:10 a.m. local time as a Category 4 hurricane, and experts predict that Irma will remain a hurricane though the morning of September 11 and perhaps longer.
"We have so much damage right now around the state". So that's affecting a lot of territory here in Florida.
- In Venice, Florida, the water plant was shut down after it was damaged by the storm. The Marco island area, we have a lot of concerns about that. 20 to 30 miles to the east would have put Miami under even more severe conditions - with stronger winds, rainfall and tornadoes directly hitting the city.
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"We will continue to ask people to deter travel or proceed with caution".
Some of the challenges the state in the immediate aftermath of the storm will be: Restoring power across the state, removing debris from roads, dealing with possible fuel shortages, and making sure nursing home and hospital patients who were evacuated can safely return. It's an area that hasn't seen a hurricane in some 100 years.
Flooding was not the only concern in Florida. They are expected to spend at least two weeks assisting with efforts.
"I just hope everybody survived", Scott said after flying over the archipelago Monday. And how bad is the damage? "Growing up in the state, you are used to them and know how to prepare for them". And then as it shifted west, a lot of people here kind of relaxed a little bit.
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"We stocked the pantry all up, we got the freezer full, we got the generator running the freezer and refrigerator so we're not going to lose food there", Witt said. People still took it very seriously.