Hurricane Irma: Shocking footage shows Florida streets turning into rivers

Bossert

Tom Bossert at the White House podium

"Eye of Irma beginning to move slowly away from the coast of Cuba while weather is deteriorating in south Florida", where the hurricane is headed, the US National Hurricane Center reported.

A high wind watch was issued for parts of the Midlands, however according to the National Weather Service in Columbia, this should be treated as a tropical storm watch.

Florida's second biggest power company, Duke, serving the northern and central parts of the state, said it still had about 1.2 million outages Tuesday morning, according to the company's website, while Duke's outages in North and SC climbed to about 160,000.

Gov. Rick Scott says the entire west coast of Florida will likely see risky affects from storm surge as Hurricane Irma comes ashore Sunday.

One storm-related death had been confirmed in rural Worth County, Georgia Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Catherine Howden said Monday afternoon.

Wary of tornadoes, though, he said he could change his plans if it looks like Irma could strike as a Category 4 or 5 storm.

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"South Florida is already experiencing tropical storm force winds and risky seas", Scott said.

In Georgia, utilities reported over 1.1 million customers without power on Tuesday, down from a peak of around 1.3 million late Monday. From there, Irma is expected to push into Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee on Tuesday and Wednesday. The hurricane slammed across South Florida with sustained winds of 185 miles per hour, killing 423 people. But rather than collect their property insurance claim and leave, like thousands of others in South Dade, the Knowles chose to stay and "rebuild", she said.

Tracking models showed Irma would make landfall on the Keys and head along Florida's west coast, slamming the state that is a major tourism hub, with an economy comprising about 5 percent of USA gross domestic product.

"Florida Highway Patrol said they're seeing too many people out "sightseeing" and not obeying the curfew".

"Every August I think about those harrowing days in 1992", said Robert Lenz, who now lives in Atlanta, but found himself scrambling in recent days to make sure his mother found a better place to stay, north of Miami. However, they warned its maximum sustained winds were 70 miles per hour (110 kph), with higher gusts.

When Andrew slammed South Dade in the early morning hours of August 24, 1992, it wrecked thousands of buildings and upended thousands of lives.

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The Florida Department of Transportation on Saturday started to close turnpike service plazas in South Florida, with the Fort Pierce and Fort Drum plazas shutting down Saturday night.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Hurricane Irma has pushed water out of a bay in Tampa, but forecasters are telling people not to venture out there, because it's going to return with a potentially deadly vengeance.

The massive storm, which had menaced Florida for days and triggered evacuation orders covering 5.6 million people, made two official landfalls on Sunday.

At least one bridge on a causeway to the area collapsed, and the communications tower for the keys was no longer standing.

Tampa is another major city that comes in the path way of Irma. At least 20 people are known to have died so far across the Caribbean.

"There's devastation", Scott told a press conference following an aerial tour of the archipelago, which was the first part of the United States to be struck by Irma while it was still a Category Four hurricane. Six people were killed in the Tampa-St.Petersburg area, and damage was estimated at $2 million (in 1921 dollars.) A similar impact today would be a far different story, as the metro area's population has soared in the past 100 years, from around 50,000 in 1920 to 3 million people. But, while extremely costly, it may not rank among the state's worst hurricane disasters, as had been feared.

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When Irma approached the Florida peninsula, there was no "good" course for it to follow.

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