Parts of South Florida started feeling the effects of Hurricane Irma late Saturday, with areas experiencing flooding and thousands losing power more than a day before the deadly storm was forecast to arrive in the state.
Destructive Hurricane Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm after wreaking havoc in Florida, though it continued to bring 70 miles per hour winds as it moved north, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm gradually lost strength, weakening to a tropical storm on Monday morning as it moved towards southern Georgia, the National Hurricane Center said.
The hurricane, which killed at least 25 people as it tore through the Caribbean islands last week, has already claimed at least one life in Florida.
Jacksonville is now experiencing record-setting flooding from Irma's storm surge.
The NHC has put out a hurricane warning and a tropical storm warning stretching across nearly all of Florida into Georgia and SC - an area where more than 20 million people live.
Irma makes a landfall at Marco Island, Florida
Downgraded to a tropical storm early on Monday, Irma had ranked as one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes recorded. CNN's Chris Cuomo and Ed Lavandera reported from Naples, where conditions quickly deteriorated as Irma got closer.
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After Irma, Saint-Martin, Saint Barthelemy brace for Hurricane Jose
He said he was encouraged to see residents already working together to rebuild the shattered capital, Philipsburg. The Dutch Department of Defense tweeted videos of troops delivering water to the island of Saba on Saturday.
Thousands of drivers packed both Interstate 95 and 75; other evacuees hit the airport to get out of town.
The monstrous hurricane is expected to affect almost 1.3 million population in the U.S. with over 650,000 alone in the Miami-Dade County.
The most powerful Atlantic storm in a decade now has the Fort Myers - Naples in its sights with Sarasota and Tampa expected to get blasted by Irma as well.
About a third of the state was without power Sunday evening - that's more than 3.4 million households.
Winds and high tides due to storm surge in the Bay Area could happen Monday afternoon between three and six feet.
Hurricane Irma has drifted even more west as of Sunday morning, but the northern portion of SC is still not completely out of harm's way. The storm, which is expected to remain at Category 3 strength, is extremely unsafe, packing 130 mile-per-hour winds and enormous amounts rainfall. Winds speeds will continue to ramp up into tomorrow morning and by lunchtime, we could have gusts topping 40 or 50 miles per hour to the east and especially southeast. Forecasters also noted that much of Jose's path will depend on where Irma, now a tropical storm, ends up.