Gasoline pumps are wrapped in plastic ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma Sept. 9 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
John Ward, the emergency operations manager of Clay County, said Monday morning that crews had saved 46 people, with an undetermined number still stranded, The Associated Press reported. But while millions have been evacuated, two daredevil stormchasers are facing the wrath of Hurricane Irma head-on.
The hurricane was downgraded to a Category 2 storm, losing its major hurricane status after making landfall in the state's southwest.
Cleanup for the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge after Hurricane Irma was much easier for after the Island of Sanibel as a whole was spared.
More than two million people were also left without power across the state, which is home to President Trump's famous resort, Mar-a-Lago, located in Palm Beach on the east side of the state.
And in the Jacksonville area, close to the Georgia line, storm surge brought flooding at levels not seen in more than 50 years, with at least 46 people pulled from swamped homes. "This is a life-threatening situation". There is also the threat of brief tornadoes that could spread from south to north sometime Monday.
Dramatic before and after footage of the beach on the tropical island group show the extent of the damage caused by Irma and the serenity that followed.
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The NHC forecast that Irma's centre eye will move near or over the state's west coast later on Sunday.
The storm was initially expected to hit Miami directly.
Waves poured over a Miami seawall, flooding streets a couple of blocks from the waterfront through the financial district and past consulates, leaving high rise apartment buildings standing like islands in the flood.
The storm ripped through Cuba in recent days.
The outer bands of Hurricane Irma began to lash the Florida Keys and whip up strong surf in Miami on Saturday, as the storm already cut power to almost 25,000 people, said Florida Gov. Rick Scott.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs through November.
In South Florida, more than a million homes and businesses were in the dark early Sunday morning.
FPL officials believe restoration efforts can begin in Broward and Miami-Dade counties first when FPL meteorologist Tim Drum predicts tropical storm force winds might subside by 7 a.m. Monday.