After slamming the Florida peninsula on September 10 as a Category 4 hurricane with 130 miles per hour winds, Irma continued to move north throughout the Sunshine State, causing millions of power outages along the way before becoming a tropical depression late Monday.
The storm slammed into the Florida Keys early Sunday, when it was near its greatest strength.
"This is a life-threatening situation", Governor Rick Scott told a press conference.
Police in Lakeland, Florida, say a family with small children was rescued from a auto that was submerged in water as Hurricane Irma crossed the area.
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".
After Monday night, the National Weather Service says Jose may do something unusual: it could hit the brakes and start a series of loops. "This is an extremely risky and life-threatening situation". "The people of South Florida, the people of the entire state should know: We are with you".
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Wolpert said his experiences with previous, weaker hurricanes made it clear to him that he and his family needed to get out. Major tourist attractions, including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World, all prepared to close Saturday.
The damage from Hurricane Irma in Tampa Bay are more modern frustrations: downed trees on property, snapped utility poles causing massive power outages and temporary fuel shortages. Winds up to 120 miles per hour are possible, especially late Sunday into early Monday morning.
More than 15 million people in Florida alone are without power.
But another major hurricane named Jose has been creeping its way toward the U.S.'s east coast as if to say: Don't forget about me.
More than 22,000 miles above the surface of Earth, a new weather satellite run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration captured high-resolution imagery of three risky hurricanes moving across the Atlantic Ocean over the past week.
Buckhorn said areas along the Tampa Bay shoreline could expect a risky storm surge anywhere from 3 to 8 feet, adding that it would depend on where Irma went.
"Just left the island and said goodbye to everything I own", said Ball, 62.
With weather forecasters warning of the impact to Florida a full week in advance, many people took time to shutter their windows and take to highways in search of safer ground.