A day later, it had weakened to a tropical storm, but still brought unsafe storm surge flooding to Jacksonville.
Tropical storm winds of up to 73 miles per hour will persist through the night and possibly into Monday morning before the storm moves toward Tampa Sunday evening. The company has restored power to about 1 million customers so far but CEO Eric Silagy said Monday that "even though we are restoring power, people need to be prepared for some prolonged and extended outages". "Four-to-6 feet? We consider it to be life-threatening".
The Category 5 storm comes soon after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in the end of August after raging through the Caribbean. It's moving northwest at a speed of 14 miles per hour. He believes southwest Florida is the most impacted but cautions that numbers may rise as "Irma hasn't left". A hurricane watch remained in effect for Antigua.
At least two cranes used to construct high-rise buildings in Miami collapsed. There were 166,598 customers without power across the state of Georgia, according to Georgia Power.
The emergency declarations have been approved by the President in the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Georgia and the Sunshine State - Florida.
They also have asked the federal government to kick in 11 million meals and millions more liters (gallons) of water, plus almost 700 cases of baby supplies. It hit Tampa Bay on Sunday night.
Forecast models had anticipated Irma turning north earlier than it did, said CNN meteorologist Judson Jones. As the storm continues to move west, however, it is putting the Gulf Coast of Florida at more risk for bearing the worst force of the storm.
Now is not the time to become complacent, said Palm Beach County Administrator Verdenia Baker. No injuries have been reported. FEMA chief Brock Long said some places won't have electricity for weeks.
"You can't survive these storm surges", Scott told CNN Saturday evening.
Storm surge is caused when the winds from the hurricane literally push the ocean onto the shore. Worsening conditions spawned tornado warnings in the Keys and northeastern Broward County, and knocked power for 168,000 residents in South Florida.
- In Miami-Dade County, police said they arrested 28 people for burglary and looting.