Hurricane Irma wasn't the only vortex that the southeastern US had to worry about Sunday.
Images out of Polk County, Florida shows the devastation occurring as first responders attempted to go out into the storm.
It'll take more time for others, including Key West, Naples and Jacksonville dealing with wind, surge and river flooding. This is the longest any cyclone has maintained that intensity on record, according to Phil Klotzbach, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University.
Powerful Hurricane Jose missed the Leeward Islands this weekend, but it might have a second chance to strike the Caribbean and possibly Florida, forecasters said. In Riviera Beach, on Florida's east coast, winds partially ripped roofs off two apartment buildings, forcing rescuers to evacuate about 50 people from the complex, the city's mayor said.
Hurricane Irma made landfall on Sunday with a gust wind speed of 171 kilometers per hour in the Florida Keys, a coral cay archipelago located off the southern coast of Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
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ABANDONED A vehicle is seen in a flooded street as Hurricane Irma passes through on Sunday (Monday in Manila) in Miami, Florida. Even areas that did not face a direct hit from Irma saw flooding and downed power lines.
The historic storm is so wide that authorities faced destructive storm surges on both coasts of Florida and the Keys as it follows a path north toward Georgia. It gradually weakened to a tropical storm and then a tropical depression on Monday.
High winds snapped power lines and left about 4.5 million Florida homes and businesses without power in the state, whose economy represents about 5 percent of U.S. gross domestic product.
He said boats were cast ashore, water, sewers and electricity were knocked out, and "I don't think I saw one trailer park where nearly everything wasn't overturned". After making landfall, Irma has reduced to a Category 2 storm.
Strom surge warnings are in place for areas including Tampa Bay as well as many areas in South Florida.
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The geography of the bay creates a funnel: if a major hurricane with 111+ miles per hour winds from the southwest pushes water into the bay, a surge would be devastating.
"We are finding some remains", Carruthers said on CNN.
FPL says this is the biggest outage in the company's history, so it could take weeks. 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. "We didn't want to be that far away from our home", she added, noting that her husband and their dog have stayed at home.
The storm brought memories of Hurricane Charley, which blew ashore near Fort Myers in 2004 with winds near 149 miles per hour.
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