Hurricane Irma makes landfall in lower Florida Keys

Hurricane Irma makes landfall in lower Florida Keys

Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes on record before it arrived in the United States, killed 43 people in its rampage through the Caribbean and at least 12 in Florida, Georgia and SC. "The current forecast has Irma dumping up to 6" of rain (possibly more in isolated spots) in parts of Georgia and SC.

Carroll said NWS is not expecting significant storm impact, but officials are expecting some trees to fall.

Gov. Rick Scott, who spent the days before the storm hit beseeching the islands' residents to evacuate, said Monday that he is flying down to the Keys to survey the damage. Flash flood warnings are in effect for portions of the southern Appalachians, and flood warnings and predictions off heavy rainfall throughout the Southeast.

National Hurricane Center in Miami update at 5 a.m. on Monday.

"It's the worst storm I've ever seen", said South, the NOAA meteorologist. "You've got to be patient". "Please, the Keys are not safe".

An estimated 13 million Florida residents were without electricity - two-thirds of the state - as sweltering heat returned across the peninsula in the storm's wake.

Irma, which had rampaged through the Caribbean as one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes on record, was downgraded to a tropical depression on Monday and would likely dissipate from Tuesday evening, the National Hurricane Center said.

- If any power lines do come down, treat them as a live wire and call Duke Energy.

Bumper-to-bumper traffic was snaking north out of the peninsula, with mattresses, gas cans and kayaks strapped to vehicle roofs.

"It is frightening", he told AFP at a shelter in Miami. "Boats are sunk in the marina, shops are destroyed".

Residents and holidaymakers were ordered to stay indoors until the storm had passed, with many Brits left holed up in apartments or hotel rooms.

Irma made landfall on Sunday morning as a Category 4 storm at Cudjoe Key, about 75 miles from Key Largo, where the NBC 6 helicopter was flying.

This is the first time two Category 4 landfalls occurred in the continental United States in the same hurricane season. This means most people who chose to stay hunkered down at home or in a shelter can expect hurricane-force winds in excess of 74 miles per hour.

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