Hurricane Irma makes landfall in Florida, wreaking destruction

Gov. Nathan Deal issues state of emergency for 6 coastal counties ahead of Hurricane Irma

Earlier Monday, Florida Governor Rick Scott drove to Mobile to begin the first leg of assessing damage in Florida from Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Irma weakened to a Category 1 storm early today as it marched up the USA state of Florida's northwestern coast, with its eye located about 40 kilometers northeast of the vulnerable Tampa area. It had weakened to a tropical storm by Monday morning (local time) as it headed toward Georgia. With communication cut to some of the Florida Keys, where Irma made landfall Sunday, and rough conditions persisting across the peninsula, many are holding their breath for what daylight might reveal.

With about 3 million people, the Tampa Bay metropolitan area is the second-most populous in the state.

At one point, Irma's reach extended from South Florida to Jacksonville, its girth eclipsing the size of the state itself.

The hurricane center's official forecast track shows the center of the weakening storm heading northwestward through north Florida and south Georgia.

The Catagory 4 storm, with winds of 130 miles per hour and moving up the Florida's Gulf coast - prompted one of the largest evacuations in USA history.

"What we really fear more than anything is that storm surge", Buckhorn told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Sunday.

Emergency workers in Daytona Beach rescued 25 people with a high-water truck after they were suddenly caught in an onslaught of wind and rain.

"It's development in the future versus tropical storms or hurricanes", Regalado said.

We aren't now as concerned with this storm as we have been with Irma, however, it bears watching over the next week. Although the city wasn't in the storm's direct path, it took a one-two punch of heavy rain and a storm surge, leaving the water no place to drain, said Ron Morales, a meteorologist in the National Weather Service's Charleston office.

The long duration of wind combined with stronger gusts will cause downed trees and power outages on a sporadic level, otherwise most areas will deal with twigs and leaves coming down and some debris to pick up Tuesday when the weather calms down.

"The people of Florida need to know that our hearts and our prayers and all of our efforts are with them and will be with them until this storm passes", the vice president said.

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