Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm over Florida, but it still had winds near hurricane force. "But I'm also very concerned about the storm surge". Winds as fast as 60 miles per hour are predicted for Georgia and at least 30,000 people have aleady lost power in Savannah.
Florida emergency management officials estimate almost 13 million residents - two-thirds of the state's population - remain without power.
The storm has weakened to a tropical storm with 70 miles per hour winds, according to the 8 a.m. Monday update from the National Hurricane Center. It battered Florida's lower half, leaving a trail of tornadoes and storm-surge flooding as its core slowly made its way inland. Officials said the arena remained in one piece, but wind-driven water leaked in at the height of the storm.
- Strong winds blowing from the northeast have pushed water out of shallow parts of bays and harbors in cities like Tampa and Port Charlotte. "It was was like, 'Oh my God, what is going to happen?"'
"I don't think anybody alive today in this state has ever seen anything like this", Scott said at the state's emergency operations center when the first parts of the storm started to cross into the Florida Keys. For about a week, Hurricane Irma was thought to be taking aim along the Atlantic Coast near Miami, and would go straight up the coast, but instead, it is turning late, is going to parallel the Gulf Coast and then come on shore, potentially in the Naples-Fort Myers area or even as far north as Tampa.
"So, usually the eastern side of the storm has winds opposite of the winds aloft, so that's where you have high levels of (vertical) sheer", Ward said.
Andrew Burruss was staying in Apple Bay British Virgin Islands when Hurricane Irma barrelled through. Shot
The governor said, "It didn't just impact one coast where we could position assets on the other coast".
Several areas of Jacksonville, Fla. are flooded on Monday after the St. John's River overflowed. He and his wife waited in long lines at the grocery store before finally finding a place they were able to get the last three cases of water at.
Hurricane-force winds extended across portions of central Florida on Sunday night, the National Hurricane Center reported. Roughly 1500 people lost their lives during the storm and and "many of those deaths occurred directly, or indirectly, as a result of storm surge", also according to the National Hurricane Center.
Next, Irma is expected to push into Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.
People in the heavily populated Tampa-St.
After a day of dread and uncertainty, Irma has weakened into a tropical storm, but not before bringing heavy rain, wind, damage and power outages, but sparing the region the worst of its once-historic wrath. Petersburg area were braced for its first direct hit from a major hurricane since 1921.