"So we're working hard to get our state back to normal but most importantly we've got to save every life, and we've got to make sure people understand it's still unsafe".
The storm's northwestern track is expected to carry Irma over or near the western coast of Florida during Monday morning, bringing the hurricane inland and into southwestern Georgia on Monday afternoon, the NHC said. It also spread misery into Georgia and SC as it moved inland with winds at 50 miles per hour, causing flooding and power outages.
The massive storm, which had menaced Florida for days and triggered evacuation orders covering 5.6 million people, made two official landfalls on Sunday, reports The Washington Post. In Naples, water levels rose above 9 feet over a three-hour span. Rain totals are estimated at 10-15 inches, with some areas expecting almost 25 inches during the storm's peak.
Nielsen had to shut down a national data center in Oldsmar, Fla., area in advance of Hurricane Irma hitting the area.
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For a bit of positive news, the state agency added, "Hurricane Jose does not pose a threat to Florida".
The center of Irma will move near the northwestern coast of Florida this morning, cross the eastern Florida Panhandle into southern Georgia this afternoon, and move through southwestern Georgia and eastern Alabama tonight and Tuesday. "I just hope they don't go through this storm surge".
Curfews were imposed in Miami, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and much of the rest of South Florida, and some arrests of violators were reported.
The challenges in the immediate aftermath of the storm will be many: Restoring 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.
Irma's fearsome winds reach Florida shores
The island is home to about 72,000 people. "And I knew that the cable box was hit, the tree came down and the whole house shook". But by the time Irma arrived in the middle of the night Monday, its winds were down to 100 miles per hour (161 kph) or less.
Around the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, where Irma rolled through early Monday, damage appeared modest. We have roads that are impassable. Most of the outages were in Southeast Florida.
Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said, "The storm was weakened by its passage over Cuba, its eye went through the central Keys, where I'm sure it did a bad amount of damage".
More than 3.4 million homes in the state are without power, and parts of the city of Miami are under water. Even areas that did not face a direct hit from Irma saw flooding and downed power lines.
The hurricane is expected to weaken more but hang on to hurricane strength through Saturday. Are you or anyone you know affected?
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Hurricane Irma is expected to travel north early this week, with Georgia and SC in the path of impact.
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