First Hurricane-Force Wind Reaches Florida

He said 19,500 electric workers have been deployed in the restoration effort. Authorities also struggled to clear the single highway connecting the string of islands to the mainland.

A third storm, Katia, made landfall late Friday north of Tecolutla, Mexico, as a Category 1 hurricane but had weakened to a tropical depression by Saturday morning, the hurricane center said.

Keeping an eye on Irma, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has issued a mandatory evacuation for some barrier islands, while Georgia Governor Nathan Deal expanded a state of emergency to include 94 counties.

Scott drove from Pensacola to Mobile, Ala., Monday morning to catch a flight aboard a U.S. Coast Guard C-130 for an aerial tour of the Florida Keys, according to his office.

Irma, however, continued to be a threat as it crossed the northern part of the state and because of lingering storm surges along both coasts.

Irma has claimed at least 37 people in the Carribean and Florida. "The people of South Florida, the people of the entire state should know: We are with you". That's more than the population of NY and Los Angeles combined. "The first blush is that not only did we dodge a bullet, but we survived pretty well. I just don't know". The company's system will need to be rebuilt, particularly in the western part of the state, Gould said. It flooded streets and coasts, swamped homes, uprooted massive trees, cast boats ashore, snapped power lines and toppled construction cranes.

Chase said wind speeds are expected to increase and remain in the 20 to 30 miles per hour range until early Tuesday morning. Tampa was spared a direct hit, and the city lifted its overnight curfew at 8 a.m. this morning.

Hilton Head Island said on Twitter that it suspended emergency operations at 9 a.m. Monday until the winds and storm surge subside. In the Keys, though, he said "there is devastation".

Michael Rivers of North Lauderdale, Fla., said losing power took him from "anxious before and during the storm, to bored and angry after due to the loss of's hot".

At least three people are reported to have died, and more than two million homes were left without power.

"HELP IS ON THE WAY", they promised on Facebook. The St. Johns River rose to record levels, flooding major roadways. "If you're outside, get inside and shelter in place". "Search and rescue teams are ready to deploy". There were no immediate reports of tornadoes touching down.

Reverse storm surge is maximized when the water is shallow like in bays and the tide is low. More than 200,000 had electricity restored, mostly by automated devices.

  • Leroy Wright