Editor's note: This is a developing story that is being constantly updated as the storm progresses.
Irma, once ranked as one of the most powerful hurricanes recorded in the Atlantic, hit a wide swathe of Florida over the past day, first making landfall on the Florida Keys archipelago and then coming ashore south of Naples and heading up the west coast. Emergency crews made rescues throughout the night.
"This is a life-threatening situation". "If you're outside, get inside and shelter in place". "To the public in their homes who are trying to ride out this storm, we urge you to not get on the roads until you have been given clearance by everyone who is required to give clearance".
Irma's powerful eye landed in the Keys as a Category 4 hurricane Sunday morning, swelling waterways to an estimated 10 to 15 feet in some areas, CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano reports.
By 2 a.m. ET, it had sustained winds of 85 mph with its center 25 miles northeast of Tampa.
One person, identified as being in Okeechobee County, Florida, showed a horse indoors.
Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay has declared a curfew in the Florida Keys between dusk and dawn after devastating Hurricane Irma swept through the island chain.
The south to north scenario along a coastline that Irma seems to be taking has always been seen as the most problematic for Floridians because of the few places it leaves for residents to flee from the storm.
"The greatest hazard at this point is the storm surge", he said.
Beyond Florida, almost 1,000 flights have already been cancelled out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the busiest airport in the world, and where it appears Irma will have major operations impact.
Monday, Governor Scott joined Vice Admiral Karl Schultz and members of the U.S. Coast Guard for an aerial tour on a C-130 along Florida's West Coast and over the Florida Keys to assess damage from Hurricane Irma.
The storm has moved past Florida and is heading toward Georgia and Alabama but peek says his job is still not complete.
In Georgia, utilities reported about 950,000 customers without power.
Homes destroyed: About a dozen homes were hit by trees and destroyed in Hillsborough County, where Tampa is located, according to an initial assessment by county officials. No injuries have been reported.
Around 5.7 million homes and businesses in the state are without power, and more than 120 homes near Orlando have had to be evacuated from rising floodwaters. Video and images of storm damage began to emerge on social media platforms. All causeways leading to Miami Beach were closed by police.
Forecasters said metro Atlanta could expect peak winds of 30-40 miles per hour (50 to 65 kph) and gusts up to 55 miles per hour (90 kph) on Monday, with a likelihood of falling limbs and trees blocking roadways and snapping power lines.
"I will tell you in no uncertain terms - and I am not going to sugarcoat it - this is going to be a hard storm", Buckhorn said at the news conference.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued a mandatory evacuation for some barrier islands.
Meteorologists predicted Irma would plough into the Tampa Bay area Monday morning.
In Alabama, some city school districts including Birmingham, Huntsville and Auburn planned to close Monday and in some cases Tuesday.