Irma, which has killed at least 22 people in the Caribbean, was considered a life-threatening danger to Florida as well and will likely inflict billions of dollars in damage in the third-most-populous US state.
Expats and tourists have spoken of their terror at the most powerful storm ever in the Atlantic Ocean, and shock at the extent of the damage.
He said Irma was unsafe and life-threatening.
"Just left the island and said goodbye to everything I own", said Ball, 62.
Irma made landfall on Florida's mainland on Marco Island with 115 miles per hour winds.
A weakened Irma took its parting shot at Florida on Monday, triggering severe flooding in the state's northeastern corner, while authorities along the storm's 400-mile path struggled to rush aid to victims and take the full measure of the damage.
She was brought to the shelter by police on Saturday night, in an eleventh-hour rescue mission when the arrival of the storm seemed imminent. As of 5 p.m. ET, Irma was centered about 10 miles east of Albany, with maximum sustained winds up to 50 mph.
Irma is expected to regain strength as it steams over warm waters south of Florida, according to the NHC.
The waters retracted because the leading wind bands of Irma whipped the coastal water more out to sea.
In addition to unsafe winds, much of southern Florida is anticipating a severe storm surge - the crest of water that forms ahead of a storm because of its powerful winds.
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And taking a glance at the aftermath of Irma at Disney World, it's a good thing all the parks are closed . The National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for portions of Middle Tennessee.
U.S. forecaster AccuWeather said the combined economic cost of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma could reach $290 billion.
People in the heavily populated Tampa-St.
The North and South Prongs of Black Creek in Clay County reached major flood stage one day earlier than anticipated.
Two deaths occurred in Florida due to auto accidents.
Cubans walked through ankle-deep water in Caibarien, a fishing town where streets were flooded and covered in seaweed. It will determine whether Tampa or Miami will get the strongest hit of the storm. The storm even took paint off the walls, he said.
With about 3 million people, the Tampa Bay metropolitan area is the second-most populous in the state.
Officials in Florida have ordered a total of 6.3 million people, or about a third of the state's population, to evacuate, creating massive traffic jams on highways and overcrowding shelters.
Reports of Irma's pending impact have been circulating for days, causing anxiety to soar among residents uncertain whether to heed mandatory evacuation orders or try to ride out the storm.
"This is a storm of enormous destructive power, and I ask everyone in the storm's path to heed ALL instructions from government officials", Trump said on Twitter. As of 12:45 pm ET Saturday, almost 30,000 households had already lost power.
The company has said it expects millions of people to lose power, with some areas experiences prolonged outages.
France said 10 people died on its side, while the Netherlands said the storm killed four on the Dutch side, called Sint Maarten, where 70 percent of the infrastructure has been destroyed. "Where do we have to go except the bathroom and the back bedroom?"