Hurricane Irma makes landfall in the Florida Keys

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“This is going to be a frustrating event”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she said: “This is the most significant storm that has hit the United States in modern times”.

“We have put the shutters, made all the precautions for any onslaught of the hurricane, because we have gone through these types of hurricanes every two years, so we know how to prepare”, said Vivek Swaroop, who has his own consultancy business in Fort Lauderdale area of Florida, where a mandatory evacuation has been ordered.

In one of the biggest evacuations ever ordered in the US, about 6.3 million people in Florida – more than one-quarter of the state’s population – were warned to leave.

Hurricane Irma has weakened to a tropical storm after causing widespread damage on Caribbean islands and the USA state of Florida.

At the Caloosa Cove Resort and Marina, concrete pilings meant to hold the dock in place had been knocked sideways and three manatees lolled in the water, drinking from an outflow pump that was spitting water from the side of the dock. So power outages are still possible in SC. Officials on the island of Guadeloupe, where French aid efforts are being coordinated, suspended boat crossings to the hardest-hit territories of St. Martin and St. Barts where 11 people have died. For Lee, Russell, Barbour, Harris, Muscogee, Chattahoochee, Stewart, Webster, Marion, Troup, Meriwether, Talbot, Taylor, Schley and Sumter Counties: 45-55 miles per hour sustained winds are possible with gusts up to 70mph.

More than 6.2 million homes and businesses remained without power, and 220,000 people huddled in shelters. Only 18% of homeowners have flood insurance in Florida, while 79% of the exposure for properties in the state is coastal, he said. “I thought I would come back and find the roof gone”, said Yolexis Domingo, 39, using a machete to hack the branches off a tree that fell in front of his house in Caibarien.

“Florida Highway Patrol said they’re seeing too many people out “sightseeing” and not obeying the curfew”.

Even that, however, could bring unsafe flash flooding and storm surges in many populated areas, our Havana correspondent says.

About 800 flights had been canceled at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which remained operational Monday as its staff monitored storm conditions with help from the Federal Aviation Administration, airport spokesman Andrew Gobeil said.

At least 24 people were killed as Irma pounded the northern Caribbean.

“We can not save you in the middle of a storm”, Scott said at a news conference Friday. It’s going to be tough for us to get in to perform search and rescue in South Florida.

“Right now, we are anxious about lives, not cost”, he told reporters. “It won’t have a bad impact on the economy”.

Authorities have not yet determined whether the deaths were a direct result of Irma.

The evacuation of Miami-Dade County was the largest in the county’s history, with an estimated 660,000 people asked to leave, Mayor Carlos Gimenez said. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles mainly to the west of the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 415 miles.

“We will have to rebuild part of our system, particularly in the western part of the state”. Officials closed major bridges. South Carolina: Almost 55,000 customers have no power, according to Duke Energy and SCEG.

A high wind watch was issued for parts of the Midlands, however according to the National Weather Service in Columbia, this should be treated as a tropical storm watch.

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The center was monitoring another hurricane, Jose, which was spinning in the Atlantic about 700 miles (1,130 km) west of Florida. Nearly three months remain in the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through November.

Florida Keys devastated by Irma says governor

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