Hurricane Irma Nears Ft. Myers; Winds Still Top 100 miles per hour

Irma sends cranes tumbling in flooded Miami

Crawford says Georgia Power expects a widespread of damage caused by high winds and fallen trees. Katia struck the east coast of Mexico Saturday morning as a Category 1 storm - bringing destructive winds and torrential rain right on the heels of an 8.1 natural disaster that left at least 90 people dead.

More than 45 million people will face continued severe weather conditions as Irma continues to move inland, and some states have already ordered evacuations.

About 3.5 million people - or 17 percent of Florida's population - receive food stamps.

Thousands of flights remain in halt in view of Tropical Storm Irma.

Jacksonville, the largest city geographically in the country, is grappling with a record storm surge and huge flooding. Downed trees and debris littered the roads, he said, but the city did not experience any storm surge like it feared. Please make sure you report this when it's safe to take photos.

The whole of the southern tip of Florida has seen high winds, driving rain and storm surges.

And in the Caribbean, which Irma devastated late last week, residents began what will likely be a years-long process of recovery and rebuilding after the storm tore across the region, killing at least 38 people and leaving the island of Barbuda "barely habitable".

In one of the largest US evacuations, almost 7 million people in the Southeast were warned to seek shelter, including 6.4 million in Florida alone.

Five shelters are open across the state for Florida evacuees, including in Mecklenburg and Gaston counties.

As well as being potentially expensive, the hurricane set a number of new records, according to the list by Colorado State University researcher Phil Klotzbach.

Irma once was the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the open Atlantic, a Category 5 with a peak wind speed of 185 miles per hour. "The water is just absolutely over these edges", he yells against the wind in one post.

"This is one where the entire state of Georgia has been affected by this hurricane slash tropical storm".

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued a mandatory evacuation for some barrier islands.

Irma was packing 160 miles per hour (260 kph) winds when it made landfall in Cuba, the first storm of that power to reach the island since 1932.

CNN's Derek Van Dam, reporting from Miami Beach, said the roaring winds felt like a jet engine.

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