National Hurricane Center: Irma now a tropical storm

"The threat of catastrophic storm surge flooding is highest along the southwest coast of Florida, where 10 to 15 feet of inundation above ground level is expected", the National Hurricane Centre said.

But on Saturday, all that changed when Irma's course shifted.

A vehicle sits abandoned in storm surge along North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.

In the metro area, the cool conditions lessen the chance of severe weather but that's not to say we won't have any.

Despite taking a direct hit, the island appears to have escaped some of the major damage feared by officials.

Buckhorn quoted boxer Mike Tyson, saying, "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face".

"We're also identifying chaplains on the East Coast who have volunteered for Harvey, to redirect them to Irma, because we've had such an overwhelming response from our chaplains", said Jack Munday, worldwide director of the Rapid Response Team.

The flooding could continue for about a week as the storm surge persists and tides rise and fall, authorities said. "Working with local emergency management professionals and FEMA, we will make sure that no expense is spared to help families respond and recover".

Jones warned that some Floridians "may not have power for a number of days, if not weeks". In Orange County, a curfew remains in effect until 6 p.m.

Over in Florida's neighboring Peach State, power outages surpassed half a million. By the time Irma hit the mainland it had weakened to a Category 2 hurricane which, while still destructive, was far less powerful than the storm that wreaked havoc across the Caribbean last week.

#Tampa bay now an effective dog park as we wait for #irma.

"You can't survive these storm surges", he said.

Hurricane Irma has weakened slightly as it brings a heavy rainfall to Florida it's still a significant threat to the southeast, including some possible effects here in SC.

"Strong winds and flash flooding still a major risk with the storm as it moves into north Florida and toward Georgia over the next 24 hours", the center said. "I have been out and around the city today, and I have witnessed the heroes getting people out of their homes, and it is going to continue". But he emphasized that Tampa is prepared. "Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other unsafe conditions", it said. "This is what we do".

  • Leroy Wright