Buildings Sway in High Winds as Florida Goes Dark

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South Floridians woke up Sunday to Hurricane Irma as the monster storm made landfall in the Florida Keys, downing trees and hurling street signs and debris and knocking the power out to hundreds of thousands of residents throughout the state.

Irma, which was expected to cause billions of dollars in damage to the third-most-populous USA state, it hit just days after the Houston area was deluged by unprecedented flooding from Hurricane Harvey, which dumped more than 127cm of rain in parts of Texas.

In the US territory of Puerto Rico, more than one million people were left without power after the storm.

Rolling Stonereports when Irma was swirling away as a category five storm, the sheer energy output was like nothing we've ever seen in the modern world.

Power losses in Georgia, which were at about 152,000 as of 8:45 a.m. EDT, were expected to increase as the storm moved north.

Cities like Tampa, which braced for the catastrophe, got a "glancing blow", while the Florida Keys - where Irma made landfall as a powerful Category 4 - are utterly devastated. Parts of Havana were inundated, and wind gusts of up to 130 miles per hour tore roofs off homes.

It submerged the highway that connects the isolated Florida Keys archipelago with the mainland and flooded streets between Miami office towers. A few keep the storm in the Atlantic, far from the United States. "This is a life-threatening situation", he said.

As of Sunday night, 112,759 customers for Tampa Electric had lost power, the utility said on its website.

The Miami International Airport authorities spoke of "sustained significant water damage".

Hurricane Irma officially made US landfall at 9:10 Cudjoe Key.

Hurricane Harvey unleashed extensive damage in southern Texas and parts of Louisiana as it brought excessive rainfall and catastrophic flooding, killing at least 74 people. Now - in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean - Hurricane Jose is waiting.

Amid urgent warnings from state officials to evacuate before it was too late, downtown Miami was all but abandoned on Saturday.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said the storm left "devastation" in the Keys, which were under mandatory evacuation orders throughout the storm.