Donald Trump declares major disaster in Florida; Hurricane now Category 2 — Irma

Hurricane Irma Has Made Landfall in Florida [Updating]

Tens of thousands in Florida are huddled in shelters as the hurricane threatens to make a catastrophic hit on the state.

The storm, which is uprooting trees and flooding streets, is around 15 miles east-southeast of Fort Myers, Florida and is moving north toward Sarasota and Tampa at 14 mph.

More than 6m people have been ordered to evacuate and over 2.4m homes and businesses were left without power as Hurricane Irma battered Florida's west coast yesterday. Millions of residents fled the area while some still insist to remain.

But because the storm is up to 640km wide, the entire Florida peninsula was exposed.

"We will do everything we can to get you out". "This is a life-threatening situation".

And there's plenty more damage to come.

FLIGHT TRACKER: Is your flight on time? In South Carolina, the impacted counties are Allendale, Beaufort, Charleston, Dorchester, Colleton, Jasper, Hampton and Berkeley. "But whatever we find when we open those doors, we'll be here".

Southwest Florida is sometimes called "surge central" by storm experts.

Irma - one of the strongest storms ever recorded on the Atlantic - has killed at least 24 people in the Caribbean islands, according to CNN.

Two of the two dozen construction cranes looming over the city's skyline collapsed in the wind.

"The response is a complete and total surprise to me", he said. Depending on how much water was pushed ashore, and the area's watershed, that water may hang around.

Traffic in the Keys and South Florida - once Irma's primary target - has been minimal, if not next to nothing, for a few days.

The hurricane centre predicts Irma will "move along or near the south-west coast" of Florida on Sunday.

"Barbuda is almost like the poster child of the kind of devastation Irma caused", said Burford at ABS. "That's why everyone in the Keys was urged so strongly to evacuate". On Friday, the utility had estimated that 4.1 million accounts or 9 million people would lose power in the storm.

St Martin and St Barthelemy: Six out of 10 homes on St Martin, an island shared between France and the Netherlands, are now uninhabitable, French officials say.

Forecasters said it could hit the heavily populated Tampa-St Petersburg area early on Monday. "I don't know whether to laugh or sigh".

After devastating the Caribbean and forcing one of the largest evacuations in U.S. history, Irma ripped through the Florida Keys on Sunday.

President Donald Trump approved a disaster declaration for Florida, opening the way for federal aid. "That's a bad path to be in".

"We're all going to be OK", Ploghoft said.

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