Florida Gov. Rick Scott gives updates on Hurricane Irma

'Get Out Now!' Hurricane Irma Threatens Historic Disaster for Florida

'Get Out Now!' Hurricane Irma Threatens Historic Disaster for Florida

Forecasters warn that the storm surge from Hurricane Irma could reach 15 feet (4.5 meters) along parts of the Florida coast in the coming hours.

Hurricane Irma slammed into Florida early on Sunday, belting the southern US state with wind gusts of up to 240km an hour while threatening massive tidal surges.

Residents in the Florida Keys have been ordered to evacuate, with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long telling CNN: "The message has been clear: The Keys are going to be impacted".

More than 50,000 people expressed interest in the event on Facebook, and more than 27,000 noted that they were "attending".

Irma had been one of the most powerful hurricanes ever seen in the Atlantic, killing 28 people in the Caribbean and pummeling Cuba with 36-foot (11 meter) waves on Sunday.

St. Martin, which is divided between France and the Netherlands, saw around 70 percent of the infrastructure destroyed on the Dutch side following Hurricane Irma, officials said.

A Florida sheriff cautioned residents not to shoot bullets at Irma, after a viral Facebook page urged people to take aim at the Category 4 storm.

A slightly less dire 2016 study by CoreLogic estimated that about 450,000 Tampa homes-one-third of the total-are vulnerable to hurricane flooding. A 2013 World Bank study that ranked cities according to their vulnerability to major storms placed Tampa number seven - not among American cities, but among all cities in the world. As tropical cyclones (like hurricanes) begin to die off, the atmosphere becomes unstable as winds near the surface weaken while higher altitude winds remain strong.

"The hurricane is expected to move along or near the southwest coast of Florida Sunday afternoon".

"This is a life-threatening situation", the hurricane center posted.

The warning comes as conditions are ripe for tornadoes within the bands of Hurricane Irma. She grows citrus fruits and raises cattle on the farm, which has been in her family for generations, she said. Irma was downgraded to a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph. "When it happens, the storm water rushes in and rushes out". There has been a large concern of the many constructions cranes dotting the city, and their ability withstand the wind. "This is so important to families' safety". The call from the woman in labor was not one of them.

"Well guys, it's here", he wrote.

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