Hurricane Irma makes landfall in Florida, wreaking destruction

Irma Strengthens To Category 4, Shifts West Taking Aim At St. Petersberg

"We know that we are ground zero for Hurricane Irma", Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said at a Sunday morning news conference.

When people think about hurricanes, they tend to think more about the dangers related to powerful winds, and less about the dangers of rising, fast-moving waters.

There is still the threat of of tropical storm force winds, flooding rains and tornadoes, even though the storm is expected to track well to the west of the state.

There's room for more, County Administrator Mike Merrill said, but he urged people to stay put for now.

Hurricane Irma is moving faster with slower wind speeds and should make landfall in Naples in a few hours. Rain will begin over Southeast areas late tonight and rain will continue to increase into the day tomorrow and continue through Tuesday.

Irma hit southwest Florida on Sunday morning as a unsafe Category 4 storm, the second-highest level on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.

- There are boil water orders in effect for parts of Broward County, and Miami-Dade County schools are closed until further notice. "We just cannot gamble on the wind". Nearly every mobile home park in the Keys had overturned homes, according to the governor. On that track Jose is forecast to be hundreds of miles east of the Georgia and SC coasts as a hurricane.

Irma, which was expected to cause billions of dollars in damage to the third-most-populous USA state, it hit just days after the Houston area was deluged by unprecedented flooding from Hurricane Harvey, which dumped more than 127cm of rain in parts of Texas.

Full restoration of power could take weeks in many areas due to expected damage to FPL's system, the NextEra Energy Inc unit said. Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses have lost power in the state, according to the Associated Press.

Authorities say a Florida man appears to have been electrocuted by a downed power line following Irma. Gov. Rick Scott requested a major disaster declaration from President Donald Trump "to help bring important federal resources and aid to Florida" once Irma passes, he said.

Hurricane Irma is so strong that it is pulling water away from coastlines, an unusual phenomenon taking place in certain areas of Florida's west coast.

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