National Hurricane Center: Irma makes landfall in Florida Keys - 9AM

Only a few feet of sea level rise could put the southern part of the state completely under water.

More than 180,000 people huddled in shelters in the Sunshine State. Emergency crews later took her to the hospital.

After leaving Florida, a weakened Irma is expected to push into Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and beyond.

Florida Gov. Scott said Sunday that "we're going to do everything we can to keep every person in our state alive and protected,"and "I know the winds are going to be very devastating and life threatening".

5pm-11pm Monday: Right now this looks like the worst of it with heavy rain, continued high winds with gusts as high as 50 miles per hour.

Statewide, an estimated 13 million people, or two-thirds of Florida's population, remained without power.

Irma is the first major hurricane to make a direct strike on Florida since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, and appears capable of a wider swath of destruction than each of the several storms that hit the state the mid-2000s. One to fifteen foot storm surges are expected along the west coast of Florida, from Marco Island to the Florida Keys. The system will weaken to a tropical storm later this morning.

- One person was found dead in Orange County in a single-car accident linked to the storm, police said without providing details.

But even if Irma devastates South Florida, people aren't likely to move away.

As much as 20 inches of rain was predicted through Wednesday across the Florida peninsula and southeast Georgia, and maximum wind gusts above 100 miles per hour are expected in much of western Florida.

Gov. Rick Scott says the entire west coast of Florida will likely see unsafe affects from storm surge as Hurricane Irma comes ashore Sunday. Emera's Tampa Electric utility reported that 300,000 homes and businesses lost power by Monday morning.

- Strong winds blowing from the northeast pushed water out of shallow parts of bays and harbors in cities like Tampa and Port Charlotte.

The second storm has sustained top wins of 150 miles per hour, according to the Associated Press, and is expected to move west to northwest into the Atlantic Ocean over the next few days, reported CNN.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for the South Santee River southward to Jupiter Inlet * Cape Sable northward to the Ochlockonee River, including Tampa Bay.

Homes destroyed: About a dozen homes were hit by trees and destroyed in Hillsborough County, where Tampa is located, according to an initial assessment by county officials.

This includes some 6.5 million Floridians and 500,000 in Georgia. FEMA chief Brock Long said some places won't have electricity for weeks. In Cuba, the storm swamped Havana's iconic seawall, pushing water almost half a kilometer inland.

Cuban officials reported "significant damage", without giving further details, but said there were no confirmed casualties yet, AFP news agency reported.

- Disney World was forced to close, for only the sixth time in its 45-year history. Emergency officials expect tropical storm winds to reach Georgia's coast, where storm surges could be amplified by unusually high tides. The mayor said Monday that residents are urged to stay off roads as crews are in clean-up mode.

More than 15 million people in Florida alone are without power.

In South Carolina, a mandatory evacuation order was issued for eight barrier islands.

One: The amount of times two Category 4 hurricanes have occurred in the same hurricane season.

U.S. President Donald Trump in a ceremony at the Pentagon to remember the victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks vowed a full response to Irma, as well as continued federal support for victims of Hurricane Harvey, which flooded Texas.

  • Leroy Wright