Announcing itself with roaring 130 miles per hour winds, Hurricane Irma plowed into the mostly emptied-out Florida Keys early Sunday for the start of what could be a slow, ruinous march up the state's west coast toward the heavily populated Tampa-St. It was expected to cross into Georgia in the afternoon, leaving potentially unsafe storm surges in its wake.
The storm was passing north of the Leeward Islands at 2 p.m. ET Saturday, the hurricane center said, and was moving northwest at 13 miles per hour. The effect led to surreal scenes and even prompted a special warning from the National Weather Service to gawkers along the shore. Hurricane Irma, and an unusual low tide pushed water out nearly hundreds of yards. Move to higher ground now. He said Irma was risky and life-threatening.
Hurricane Irma made landfall on Marco Island at 3:35 p.m.as a Category 3 storm.
Residents were allowed to return Tuesday to some islands in the hurricane-slammed Florida Keys as officials tried to piece together the scope of Hurricane Irma's destruction and rushed aid into the drenched and debris-strewn state.
Charleston, S.C.is expecting high tide just after noon today and forecasters warn that the tide height will crest at over 10 feet, causing extensive flood problems through town.
The eye of Category 3 Hurricane Irma crossed into mainland Florida near Naples on Sunday afternoon after striking the Florida Keys at Category 4 strength on Sunday morning.
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A crane at a downtown Miami , Fla., apartment building reportedly snapped Sunday as Hurricane Irma made landfall in the state. Gusts over 90 miles per hour (145 kph) were reported at Miami International Airport.
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Police in the town of Lebanon confirmed that one suspect was arrested shortly before 3 p.m., 90 minutes after the initial alert. There is no confirmation that shots have been fired, though employees have been told to either evacuate or shelter in place.
"I know for our entire state, especially the Keys, it's going to be a long road", governor Rick Scott said. President Trump approved it.
Irma was ranked Category 5, the rare top-end of the scale of hurricane intensity, for days.
During its march up Florida's west coast, Irma swamped homes, uprooted trees and flooded streets.
Jorge Gonzalez walks by his auto after his home was damaged by Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida. Meantime Sanibel police were restricting traffic across the causeway.
Major flooding is also expected in portions of central and southern Florida, including the Florida Keys. The current fear is that Irma will strike the west harder than the east.
"Adding to the destructive power of surge, battering waves may increase damage to buildings directly along the coast", the National Hurricane Center says. Irma is still large enough to bring rain and gusty winds to the state Monday and Tuesday.