Irma's 11.25 days as a hurricane were the most since Nicole in 2016 and tied for the 23rd most in the satellite era.
Miami, the Florida Keys and the Everglades would be completely under water. Its eye finally spun out of Florida on Monday and was moving inland, first over south Georgia as the storm system gradually weakened. Currently, Irma is a Category 3. But it was battered by the tropical storm, with storm-surge flooding from the St. Johns River that broke the record set in 1964 during Hurricane Dora.
Bryan Koon, Florida's emergency management director, said late Sunday that authorities had only scattered information about the storm's toll, but he remained hopeful.
But because of disrupted communications and cut-off roads, the full scale of its damage was unclear, especially in the dangerously exposed Keys, which felt Irma's full fury when the storm came shore with 130 miles per hour (209 kph) winds. The hurricane warnings are in red.
In one of the largest USA evacuations, almost 7 million people in the Southeast were warned to seek shelter elsewhere, including 6.4 million in Florida alone. "For the last few days it's been somewhat of a ghost town, the causeways have been very open, so the people had the opportunity to leave, and I think our messaging was very consistent, very aggressive, and the town was barren, you literally couldn't see anyone on the streets in the last few days".
Seven million: The number of people that were ordered to evacuate.
Search crews planned to go door-to-door in the Keys to check on residents. "Please, the Keys are not safe".
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Sustained winds are expected to still be at least 74 miles per hour with higher gusts possible when the eye hits southern sections of Georgia early Monday afternoon.
Spiral bands from the storm will bring heavy downpours.
"Stay where you are", Baker said. "You've got to be patient". Irma was also the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in Cuba since the 1924 hurricane. Maximum sustained winds were 155 miles per hour. Irma is a large hurricane and will produce far-reaching effects regardless of where the exact center of the storm moves.
This southwest Florida island was the second place Hurricane Irma made landfall, striking Sunday afternoon as a Category 3 storm.
Warning: Fernandina Beach southward around the peninsula to Indian Pass.
- A storm surge warning is discontinued for the Florida Keys and some parts of the Florida coast.
Some chose to go to shelters, others made a decision to hunker down at home to ride out the storm.
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US President Donald Trump spoke on Friday to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron to extend his condolences and offer support, the White House said. Emera's Tampa Electric utility reported that 300,000 homes and businesses lost power by Monday morning.
- Of the 24 deaths blamed on Irma, nine were in unspecified French territories, one in Barbuda, one in the British overseas territory of Anguilla, two in Dutch-administered St. Maarten, four in the British Virgin Islands, four in the US Virgin Islands and three in Puerto Rico. The deadly storm moved through Naples and Fort Myers towards Sarasota and Tampa. The primary concerns given the current forecast track would be excessive rainfall leading to flash flooding, and the potential for tornadoes.
In a parting shot, it triggered severe flooding around Jacksonville in the state's northeastern corner.
According to The New York Times, the storm has already left more than one million households in Florida without power.
"We think this could be the most challenging restoration in the history of the USA", he said. And at least two construction cranes partially collapsed.
A direct hit from Irma appeared increasingly unlikely in North Carolina, where emergency officials urged people to stay vigilant with preparations.
The size and trajectory of the storm has prompted officials to order evacuations along both coasts of Florida, including some of the state's population centers.
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At least one bridge on a causeway to the area collapsed, and the communications tower for the keys was no longer standing. But, while extremely costly, it may not rank among the state's worst hurricane disasters, as had been feared.
FEMA warned Alabama and North Carolina also to be on watch.