Irma knocks out power to over 1.3 million customers in Florida

NOAA									SOURCE NOAA

Flooding was reported along Interstate 4, which cuts across Florida's midsection. "It's going to be devastating to them".

"Anyone who didn't heed the evacuation orders here in Miami Beach, it's time to bunker down", Van Dam said.

Some 400 miles north of the Keys, the wind was picking up in St Petersburg and people began bracing for the storm's wrath.

Streets emptied across the bottom half of the Florida peninsula, and some 127,000 people huddled in shelters. The current forecast has Jose coming about 500 miles away from the SC coast by Sunday, moving due north and staying well offshore.

Contrast this with the Caribbean, where dozens of people have died.

Speaking about the havoc wrecked across the Atlantic, Munday added: "My heart goes out to the people on these islands because they didn't have the resources, the shelter, the ability to prepare as we would have on the mainland, which makes them more vulnerable". "This state is a state of strong resilient people".

In the coming days, Irma is expected to push into Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and beyond.

Further inland, a hurricane warning was in place for Valdosta and surrounding Lowndes County, where Interstate 75 crosses the Georgia-Florida line.

That would have put the hurricane over the east coast of Florida.

One of the challenges in Key West is moving debris out of the roadways and fixing the water infrastructure - the area is under a boil water advisory.

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"Once this system passes through, it's going to be a race to save lives and sustain lives", Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long said on "Fox News Sunday".

"If you own a power washer. imagine taking it in the face", said CNN's Bill Weir of the torrential rain in Key Largo, some 70 miles south of Miami. An aircraft carrier was positioned off Key West to help in the search-and-rescue effort.

But Gastesi's urged residents not to drive back just yet.

With gas stations in the area closed, drivers low on fuel get a few gallons from a Florida Department of Transportation Road Ranger at an I-4 off-ramp north of Orlando, Florida, on Monday.

Crews were fanned out across the state trying to fix the more than 100,000 power outages that remained.

As the storm has come ashore, gasoline stations have struggled to keep up. A city employee in Columbia, South Carolina, died Monday after being critically injured in a vehicle crash as he responded to a report of a downed tree, the city said.

"We are taking this curfew very seriously", Buckorn said.

Major utilities in Florida - including NextEra Energy Inc's Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Corp and Emera Inc's Tampa Electric - have mobilized tens of thousands of workers to deal with the enormous power outages after Hurricane Irma landed early Sunday. "It is time to take this storm seriously".

Eddie Hinan waded through knee-deep water to reach his flooded apartment in the San Marco neighborhood of Jacksonville on Tuesday, staying just long enough to grab a plastic bag of clean clothes.

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