Hurricane Irma heads away from Cuba

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Strong winds and rain have been battering Florida

Meanwhile, Florida Power and Light (FPL) estimated that almost 3.4 million of its customers could be without power at some point during Hurricane Irma.

"There is no safe area within the Keys, and you put your life in your own hands by not evacuating", Brock Long told CNN. He said that more shelters would be opened on Saturday.

Red Cross shelter coordinator Steve Bayer said most people at shelters are grateful and happy.

The hurricane centre predicts Irma will follow a course along the western side of Florida - which includes the major cities of Fort Meyers and Tampa - on Sunday.

US President Donald Trump said his administration is monitoring the situation around the clock and is "as prepared as we can be".

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Irma continues to impact Florida
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Irma continues to impact Florida

The storm was not expected to change in intensity overnight before starting to weaken on Sunday, the NHC said.

Some of the webcams have even been connected to separate battery packs in the event power is lost due to infrastructure damage from the storm.

"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. This means hurricane conditions and a life-threatening storm surge are expected within 36 hours.

No injuries were reported on the island by Saturday night.

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