Power Out For More Than 60 Percent Of Florida Homes And Businesses

A roof is strewn across a home's lawn as Rick Freedman checks his neighbor's damage from Hurricane Irma in Marco Island Fla. Monday Sept. 11 2017

However, he clarified that the state is not looking at damages right now and is focusing on the people.

The challenges in the immediate aftermath of the storm will be many: Restoring across the state, removing debris from roads, dealing with possible fuel shortages, and making sure nursing home and hospital patients who were evacuated can safely return.

"I think the Congress will act quickly to make sure we have the emergency funding that we need to go forward", he said.

"We're asking folks to be patient and remain sheltered in place", said St. Augustine Fire Chief Carlos Aviles.

"We're expecting some tropical four storm winds which could be sustained winds anywhere from 40-60 miles per hour and with those type of winds we can expect some down trees, down power lines and damage to some of our structures", said EMA Director Spencer Hawkins. It is forecast to weaken to Category 1 strength in a few days, with winds between 75 and 90 miles per hour.

Georgia's governor on Thursday ordered almost 540,000 coastal residents to evacuate inland ahead of Hurricane Irma as authorities warned the storm had the potential to strike as a major hurricane, something the Georgia coast hasn't seen in more than a century.

Roughly 540,000 coastal Georgia residents are under evacuation orders.

Hurricane Irma made landfall on Marco Island at 3:35 p.m.as a Category 3 storm. Major General Michael Calhoun, the head of Florida's National Guard, said on Sunday that more than 10,000 National Guard members from other states are going to be arriving soon.

Ray Scarborough and girlfriend Leah Etmanczyk left their home in Big Pine Key and fled north with her parents and three big dogs to stay with relatives in Orlando.

- At least 24 deaths have been blamed on Irma in the Caribbean islands, where it hit before barreling toward Florida.

The eye of Hurricane Irma has moved out of the Lakeland area and is pushing toward Zephyrhills and eastern Pasco County. The rainfall could be between 8 to 16 inches in parts of Georgia, 3-12 inches in western SC, and western North Carolina and about 2 to 5 inches in eastern Alabama and southern Tennessee, reported Heavy.

- Strong winds blowing from the northeast pushed water out of shallow parts of bays and harbors in cities like Tampa and Port Charlotte.

"It's frightful, what we saw", Scott said.

- A storm surge warning is discontinued for the Florida Keys and some parts of the Florida coast. I ask everyone in the storm path to heed all instructions. No injuries were reported. There were 166,598 customers without power across the state of Georgia, according to Georgia Power.

It could also test the Federal Emergency Management Agency's ability to handle two crises at the same time.

- Miami streets turned into raging rivers as floodwaters surged, and the city's airport is closed because of significant water damage. Its customers are concentrated in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. "When they told me that, that's all I needed to hear", said Scarborough, now a 37-year-old boat captain.

"You can't survive these storm surges", he said.

No evacuations had been declared yet in SC, which was last hit by a major hurricane about 28 years ago. Irma is still large enough to bring rain and gusty winds to the state Monday and Tuesday. Schools in much of the state planned to close Monday.

The National Weather Service in Atlanta issued a tropical storm watch for the area Monday and Tuesday.

Almost all tropical cyclones that hit the United States produce at least one tornado, "provided enough of the. cyclone's circulation moves over land", the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

Hurricane Andrew in 1992 revealed how lax building codes had become in the country's most storm-prone state, and Florida began requiring sturdier construction.

Last month, Hurricane Harvey devastated much of coastal Texas and killed more than 70 people.

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