The US Army has so far deployed more than 7,400 soldiers and US Army Corps of Engineers civilians on the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the continental US.
The NHC has put out a hurricane warning and a tropical storm warning stretching through nearly all of Florida into Georgia and SC, home to more than 20 million people. But the weather service reminded residents of Florida's eastern coast that "life-threatening surf and rip current conditions" were likely byproducts of Irma.
The storm made its second landfall at Marco Island as a Category 2 storm at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, before heading north to Naples across the bay. It destroyed about one-third of the buildings on the Dutch-ruled portion of St. Martin island, the Dutch Red Cross said on Tuesday.
A Key Largo restaurant and bar called Snappers - where Weir had interviewed people on Thursday as the storm was still days away - is now "completely gone", Weir said.
The widespread outages stretch from the Florida Keys all the way into central Florida.
Around 120,000 Indian-Americans reside across Florida while thousands of them live in the now-dangerous zones of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa.
Insured property losses in Florida from Irma were expected to run from $20 billion to $40 billion, catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide estimated.
"If Tampa stays on the east side of the eye, we expect the storm surge to be worse than if the eye moves inland and the west side of the storm hits it", he said.
"We know we have many people who want to get off the island, as we have no power, and many, manty more trying to get on the island", Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman said. "As we rebuild, that will help GDP". People have asked what can we do, the first thing I tell them is pray, pray for everybody in Florida.
"Several of the deaths caused by Irma came as people started cleaning up and making repairs".
The hurricane's maximum sustained winds weakened to 85 miles per hour (135 kph) with additional weakening expected. There is a risk of downed power lines, and of debris of felled trees and of standing water in areas that flooded. Irma has pushed into Georgia, the Carolinas, Kentucky, and Tennessee as a post-tropical cyclone, still carrying heavy rains but with somewhat lower wind gusts.
Hurricane-force winds extend up to 25 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend up to 140 miles. "It's the first time I have not been in Florida for a major hurricane". The Atlantic hurricane season runs through November.