High risk for tornadoes across Central Florida Sunday, Monday

The storm surge for these coastal areas will peak around 5 feet.

Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida said he might move his family to a shelter as Hurricane Irma moves toward Miami. Current model forecasts project that Hurricane Irma will then pass along or just offshore the east coast of Florida, although the actual storm track could change from current projections.

Ocean waters also receded in Tampa, as the area on Florida's west coast waited for the worst of the storm to arrive.

Storm surge watches and warnings are separated from hurricane alerts because hurricane-force winds and storm surges don't always occur at the same place or the same time, said Rick Knabb, the former director of the hurricane center, and now the hurricane expert at the Weather Channel. Forecasters also warned tornadoes could form in large portions of the state. "This is an extremely unsafe and life-threatening situation". As many as 6 million people were expected to leave the Sunshine State to get out of Irma's path. He said the massive storm is likely to cause widespread damage and that people should stay away until they are told by local officials that they can return.

The NHC in Miami said Irma's powerful eye roared ashore at Marco Island just south of Naples with 115 miles per hour winds, for a second US landfall at 3:35 p.m. Sunday.

The storm spent 3.25 days as a category 5 hurricane, the longest in the satellite era (i.e., since 1966), and tying with the 1932 Hurricane of Santa Cruz del Sur for the longest category 5 lifetime ever. Nearly three months remain in the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through November.

The center of the hurricane made landfall in the Keys at 9:10 a.m.

Jones said the severity of the storm surge depended on which side of the storm Tampa was on.

The fourth victim of the storm was a man in Monroe County who lost control of his vehicle, which was carrying a generator, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said, as cited by ABC news.

The storm had killed three people when it struck the southern Florida Keys island chain as a more powerful Category Four on Sunday.

  • Leroy Wright