Hurricane Irma: millions brace for impact as superstorm reaches Florida

Hurricane Irma: millions brace for impact as superstorm reaches Florida

Hurricane Irma: millions brace for impact as superstorm reaches Florida

The massive storm measured more than 400 miles wide, and its winds reached 130 mph.

It's not a wall of water or a tsunami.

"Hurricane damage is primarily water rising". But it has created a new problem in an already troubled recovery effort: The impending storm has halted all aid to the most affected areas because of safety concerns. The damage from the storm damaged not just people's homes and businesses, but also knocked out communication services to rescue crews.

In the Tampa Bay area, Scott said the storm surge could be between 5 feet (1.5 meters) and 8 feet (2 meters).

Forecasters say it kills more people than the strong winds.

"I don't think anybody alive today in this state has ever seen anything like this", Scott said at the state's emergency operations center when the first parts of the storm started to cross into the Florida Keys.

Irma made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane Sunday morning at Cudjoe Key, not far from Key West.

Tampa is another major city that comes in the path way of Irma.

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Warnings of hazardous storm surges remained in effect through vast swaths of peninsular Florida, where more than six million people had been ordered to flee Irma's path - one of the biggest evacuations in USA history. And with all of Georgia under a state of emergency, that could mean a lot of work. The storm had been downgraded to a Category 3 storm on Friday. It then rounded Florida's southwestern corner and hugged the coast closely as it pushed north.

United States president Donald Trump declared a "major disaster" as six million homes and businesses were left without power.

"It's the worst storm I've ever seen", said South, the NOAA meteorologist. "That is frightful. God that looks terrible".

"It's been so long since the Tampa region has had a storm that some people perhaps have no memory of what it's like to be through one of these".

The man is pictured filming the colossal waves caused by Hurricane Irma in Key West, Florida.

Jose remains in the Atlantic Ocean, which is where the weakening storm is expected to linger for the next several days, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Browne told ABC News in a phone interview, "When you have an unprecedented storm like this that comes with such significant wind force, this is like having a bomb literally thrown on a city". Hurricane Sandy lost its tropical characteristics before making landfall in 2012, but its enormous size drove catastrophic storm surge onto the New Jersey and NY coastlines.

On Saturday, Gov. Henry McMaster reported that eight coastal islands had evacuated smoothly after an evacuation order was issued, and transportation officials say traffic congestion on S.C. interstates had dropped, to 15 percent the normal load.

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