- CLICK HERE FOR LATEST HURRICANE IRMA UPDATES
- Three million people without power
- Three dead in Florida car crashes; 25 dead in Caribbean
- Deadly Hurricane Irma heads towards Tampa's retirement homes
- Incredible footage of storm chaser battling 130mph winds
- Hurricane Irma: death toll, devastation and predicted path - everything we know
- British couple 'abandoned' on St Maarten
- In pictures: the Caribbean destroyed
- Island by island: How Irma brought havoc to paradise
- Sir Richard Branson shares video of devastation on Necker island
Hurricane Irma gave Florida a coast-to-coast pummelling with winds up to 130 mph on Sunday, swamping homes and boats, knocking out power to millions and toppling massive construction cranes over the Miami skyline.
The 400-mile-wide storm blew ashore in the mostly cleared-out Florida Keys, then marched up its western coast, its punishing winds extending clear across to Miami and West Palm Beach on the Atlantic side.
Irma was nearing the heavily populated Tampa-St. Petersburg area late on Sunday, though in a much-weakened state.
While it arrived in Florida a Category 4 hurricane, by nightfall it was down to a Category 2 with winds of 100 mph (160 kph). Meanwhile, more than 160,000 people waited in shelters statewide as Irma headed up the coast.
President Donald Trump has said the US may have got a "little bit lucky" after Hurricane Irma veered from its original course and headed west along Florida's coast.
He said Irma may not have been quite as destructive as a result, but that things will play out over the next several hours.
Mr Trump addressed reporters on Sunday after returning to the White House from Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland where he spent the weekend monitoring the storm.
Irma will cost "a lot of money," he said, but he isn't thinking about that right now.
"Right now, we're worried about lives, not cost," he said,
Here is the current, real-time satellite view of the storm
As the storm ripped through Miami waist-deep water surged through streets at least three blocks from the shore.
Roads in the downtown area were turned into rivers as water raced between office buildings and blocks of flats, while street signs swung crazily.
More than 3 million homes and businesses across the state lost power, and utility officials said it will take weeks to restore electricity to everyone.
Two construction cranes collapsed in the high winds. No injuries were reported. One of them was left dangling perilously over a partially constructed high rise building.
Miami's deputy fire chief Joseph Zahralban said people in nearby structures should move somewhere safe but there was nothing else emergency services could do to help.
He said: "The weather has deteriorated to the point where we're not comfortable even sending anybody out to even evaluate the situation. So our only concern right now is the protection of life, not property."
The crane was one of more than 20 in Miami that were unable to be dismantled in time and there were fears others could come crashing down.
One woman in Miami had to deliver her own baby girl during the storm as emergency services were unable to reach her. A fire service spokesman said: "We weren't able to respond. Dispatch told her how to do it and she's stable at home."
Among at least three people reported dead as Irma hit was sheriff's deputy Julie Bridges who died alongside another in a car crash about 60 miles from Sarasota.
In a separate accident, a man lost control of a truck in strong winds in Key West.
Irma made landfall in Florida on Sunday morning at Cudjoe Key with sustained winds of 130 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.
It was expected to bring up to 25 inches of rain in some parts of the Keys.
Some 6.4 million Floridians had been ordered to evacuate, more than a quarter of Florida' population, amid warnings they would be "on their own" if they stayed. Of those who stayed 100,000 were in shelters, but some chose to remain in their own homes.
The Republican governor said on NBC that he spoke to President Donald Trump, and "everything I've asked out of the federal government, he's made sure he gave us."
Once the storm passes, "we're going to need a lot of help," Mr Scott warned.
But he also described Florida as "a tough state. We're going to come through this."
Extent of damage unclear
Bryan Koon, Florida's emergency management director, says authorities had only scattered information about the storm's toll, but he remained hopeful.
"I've not heard of catastrophic damage. It doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It means it hasn't gotten to us yet."
Tampa region getting hammered
The National Hurricane Centre says the core of Irma is now nearing Tampa in an area south of Lakeland - a community inland and to the east of the heavily populated Tampa Bay region.
A hurricane center update at midnight said Irma remained a Category 2 hurricane with top sustained winds of 100 mph (155 kph) and was located about 25 miles (35 kilometers) south of Lakeland.
Hold On! View from outside the station pic.twitter.com/gkQXoOiPcZ— LakelandPD (@LakelandPD) September 11, 2017
The storm is moving north at 14 mph (22 kph).
Forecasters warned that Irma remained dangerous as it toppled power lines, tore up roofs and threatened coastal areas with storm surges as high as 15 feet (4.6 m). Tornadoes were also spotted through the southern part of the state.
By late on Sunday, at least 4.4 million homes and businesses had lost power, according to Florida Power & Light and other utilities.
Relief effort ramped up in Caribbean
As Irma continues to batter Florida, officials are sending in more aid and arranging stepped-up evacuations in remote Caribbean islands.
Many in the chain of Leeward Islands known as the playground for the rich and famous have criticised governments for failing to respond quickly to the disaster caused by the Category 5 hurricane.
The storm stripped the islands' formerly lush green hills to a brown stubble and flattened buildings, then swamped much of Cuba's coastline, including Havana's iconic Malecon seawall.
At least 24 people died in Anguilla, Barbuda, the French-Dutch island of St. Martin, St. Barts, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.
Residents have reported shortages of food, water and medicine, and many have complained of looting.
The U.S. government said it was sending a flight on Monday to evacuate its citizens from one of the hardest hit islands, St. Martin. Evacuees were warned to expect long lines and no running water at the airport.
A Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ship was expected to dock near St. Martin to help in the aftermath, and a boat was bringing a 5-ton crane capable of unloading large shipping containers filled with aid. A French military ship was scheduled to arrive on Tuesday with materials to build temporary housing.
Some 70 percent of the beds at the main hospital in the French portion of St. Martin were severely damaged, and more than 100 people in need of urgent medical care have been evacuated. Eight of the territory's 11 pharmacies were destroyed, and Guadeloupe was sending medication.
On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron was scheduled to arrive in St. Martin to bring aid and fend off criticism that he didn't do enough to respond to the storm's wrath.
Macron promised to go to the region as soon as weather conditions allowed. Soon after Irma left 10 dead on St. Martin, Category 4 Hurricane Jose threatened the area, halting evacuations for hours before heading out to sea and causing little additional damage.
Irma bears down on Tampa
Hurricane Irma is now bearing down on the Tampa-St. Petersburg region.
The storm remains a dangerous Category 2 hurricane despite weakening a bit more to 100 mph (160 kph).
The National Hurricane Center says Irma's eye is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Tampa and moving at a fast clip of 14 mph (22 kph). Still a large hurricane, its tropical storm force winds extend out 415 miles (665 kilometers).
Forecasters say they expert Irma's centre to stay inland over Florida and then move into Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.
They also expect Irma to weaken further into a tropical storm over far northern Florida or southern Georgia on Monday as it speeds up its forward motion. The hurricane center says the storm is still life-threatening with dangerous storm surge, wind and heavy rains.
Third crane collapses
A third construction crane has toppled in Florida in the powerful winds of Hurricane Irma.
Officials say it happened at a project on Fort Lauderdale beach during the storm Sunday.
Officials with developer The Related Group told the Sun-Sentinel the crane collapse caused no injuries and did not appear to damage anything else.
Two other cranes toppled earlier in Miami as Irma swirled up the state.
Boris Johnson defends response
Boris Johnson has pledged to be there "in the long term" for British people whose Caribbean homes were ripped apart by Hurricane Irma.
Brushing aside critics, the Foreign Secretary said there had been an "unprecedented" relief effort from the UK and that he had "no doubt" Britain would meet the challenges ahead.
Spoken to BVI Governor @GusJaspert. We have 500+ troops in the region, 3 more flights today. Priority is getting aid to BVI and Anguilla— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) September 10, 2017
Irma has claimed at least 24 lives, including five in the British Virgin Islands and one each on Anguilla and Barbuda, and left thousands of people homeless when it smashed into the region on Wednesday.
"These are British people and we are here for the long term and we will come through with a recovery plan working with our partners in the region.
Tornadoes strike hurricane-stricken area
Hialeah Hospital's generator at risk
Florida Senator Marco Rubio says Hialeah Hospital is running low on diesel to run its generator.
National Weather Service update
Three million without power
Hurricane Irma knocked out power to more than 3 million homes and businesses in Florida on Sunday, threatening millions more as it crept up the state's west coast, and full restoration of service could take weeks, Reuters reports.
So far, the brunt of the storm has affected Florida Power & Light's customers in the states' southern and eastern sections, and its own operations were not immune, either.
"We are not subject to any special treatment from Hurricane Irma. We just experienced a power outage at our command center. We do have backup generation," FPL spokesman Rob Gould said on Sunday.
FPL, the biggest power company in Florida, said more than 2.9 million of its customers were without power by 7:40 p.m. (2030 GMT), mostly in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. More than 200,000 had electricity restored, mostly by automated devices.
Sir Richard Branson shows damage on Necker island
Sir Richard Branson has shared a video showing the "huge" damage wrought by Hurricane Irma on Necker island, as he appealed for aid for the devastated British Virgin Islands.
The British billionaire and adventurer hunkered down in the wine cellar of his home on his private island as it suffered a direct hit from the Category 5 Hurricane Irma.
"As you can see from the photos, much of the buildings and vegetation on Necker has been destroyed or badly damaged," Sir Richard wrote from Puerto Rico, where he was mobilising aid efforts for the British Virgin Islands and wider Caribbean.
'Prepared for the worst'
The county administrator in the Florida Keys says crews will begin house to house searcheson Monday morning, looking for people who need help and assessing damage from Hurricane Irma.
Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi says relief will arrive on a C-130 military plane Monday morning at the Key West International Airport.
Once it's light out, they'll check on survivors. They suspect they may find fatalities.
Gastesi says they are "prepared for the worst."
Miami airport badly damaged
Te head of Miami International Airport says it has sustained significant water damage throughout and will be closed throughout Monday.
MIA will be closed Monday, September 11 and will begin operations with limited schedules on Tuesday, September 12. Updates as available.— Miami Int'l Airport (@iflymia) September 11, 2017
"Whoa, did you just see that?'
CNN's Anderson Cooper interrupts a reporter to point out the glow from a blown transformer in Tampa.
American Airlines travel update
American Airlines says it will resume limited operations at its Miami International Airport hub on Monday evening, but it will take days before the airline returns to normal operations.
The Fort Worth, Texas, airline cancelled all flights at the airport starting on Friday evening in anticipation of Hurricane Irma, along with flights at three other south Florida airports. All American flights remain cancelled through Monday at 12 other Florida airports, as well as Hilton Head, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia.
Stranded manatees rescued
Two manatees were stranded after Hurricane Irma sucked the water out of Sarasota Bay, in Florida's Manatee County.
Several people posted photos of the mammals on Facebook Sunday, hoping rescue workers or wildlife officials would respond. Michael Sechler posted that the animals were far too massive to be lifted, so they gave them water.
Marcelo Clavijo posted that a group of people eventually loaded the manatees onto tarps and dragged them to deeper water.
The National Hurricane Centre has issued its latest update to the jurricane, saying Irma is moving northward near Fort Myers.
It says dangerous storm surges are expected in areas of onshore winds along the Florida West coast.
Some of the record Irma has broken
Irma set plenty of records, according to a two-page list compiled by Colorado State University researcher Phil Klotzbach:
- Its 185 mph (297 kph) winds were the highest on record for the open Atlantic ocean, outside the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean sea. Only one other storm in the entire Atlantic basin - 1980's Allen - was stronger.
- It spent three consecutive days as a top-of-the-scale Category 5 hurricane, the longest in the satellite era.
- It generated the second most Accumulated Cyclone Energy - a key measurement that combines strength and duration - in the satellite era.
- It was the strongest storm to hit the Leeward Islands.
- It's the first Category 5 hurricane to hit Cuba, which regularly gets assaulted by hurricanes, in nearly 100 years.
Fort Myers currently feeling full force of Irma
The National Hurricane Center says the eyewall of Irma is now hammering Fort Myers.
Whiteout conditions in Fort Myers
2.6 million without power
Hurricane Irma knocked out power to more than 2.6 million homes and businesses in Florida on Sunday, threatening millions more as it crept up the state's west coast, and full restoration of service could take weeks, local electric utilities said.
Irma hit Florida on Sunday morning as a dangerous Category 4 storm, the second highest level on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, but by afternoon as it barreled up the west coast, it weakened to a Category 2 with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour (177 kph).
So far, the brunt of the storm has affected Florida Power & Light's customers in the states' southern and eastern sections, and its own operations were not immune, either.
"We are not subject to any special treatment from Hurricane Irma. We just experienced a power outage at our command center. We do have backup generation," FPL spokesman Rob Gould said Sunday.
Water levels rising in Naples
The National Hurricane Center reports water levels are rising rapidly in Naples from Hurricane Irma's storm surge. A federal tide gauge in Naples reported a 7 foot rise of water in just 90 minutes, AP reports.
A wind gust of 142 mph was recorded at the Naples Municipal Airport as the storm kept its top sustained wind speed of 110 mph (175 kph).
Irma has picked up forward speed and is moving inland at 14 mph (22 kph) and its eye is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south southeast of Fort Myers.
Naples is finally getting hit and really hard! Prayers out to them!pic.twitter.com/twhsSIZLvT— Andrew Rothschild �� (@AndrewRoth4) September 10, 2017
Trump declares disaster in Florida
President Donald Trump has declared a major disaster in the state of Florida, making federal aid available to people affected by Hurricane Irma in nine counties already hit by the storm.
The federal help includes temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans for uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover in the counties of Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pinellas, and Sarasota.
Federal funding also is available to governments and non-profit organizations for emergencies in all 67 Florida counties. For the first 30 days, that money will cover 100 percent of the costs of some emergency responses.
JUST IN: President Trump approves Florida disaster declaration, according to White House pic.twitter.com/EVePDlFBGZ— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) September 10, 2017
French president to visit devastated French Caribbean island on Tuesday
The French government on Sunday defended its hurricane preparations for the hard-hit Caribbean islands of St. Martin and St. Barts, rejecting criticism by political opponents and by islanders who felt abandoned as their homes and towns were devastated.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced he would be traveling to St. Martin on Tuesday on an Airbus carrying aid supplies to show that Paris is committed to both helping and rebuilding its far-away territories pummeled by Hurricane Irma.
Some Caribbean officials said Britain was also too slow in responding to destruction on the British Virgin Islands and the Dutch government faced criticism for not acting more quickly to evacuate tourists stranded on St. Maarten, the Dutch side of St. Martin. The Dutch king is also heading to the region.
Married during the storm
"Life threatening" storm surge hits west coast of Florida
HURRICANE IRMA BRINGING LIFE-THREATENING STORM SURGE ALONG FLORIDA'S WEST COAST, INCLUDING FLORIDA KEYS -NHC
Dutch king surveys the hurricane's course
Latest advisory from the National Weather Center
BULLETIN Hurricane Irma Advisory Number 47
NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL
500 PM EDT Sun Sep 10 2017
...IRMA NEAR NAPLES FLORIDA... ...DANGEROUS STORM SURGES EXPECTED IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE EYE PASSAGE ALONG THE FLORIDA WEST COAST...
SUMMARY OF 500 PM EDT...2100 UTC...INFORMATION ----------------------------------------------
- LOCATION...26.2N 81.8W ABOUT 5 MI...10 KM N OF NAPLES FLORIDA ABOUT 30 MI...45 KM SSE OF FT. MYERS FLORIDA
- MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...110 MPH...175 KM/H
- PRESENT MOVEMENT...N OR 350 DEGREES AT 14 MPH...22 KM/H
- MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...938 MB...27.70 INCHES
First images from Marco Island
Sheriff warns against shooting guns at Irma
Remember the story about Floridians planning to shoot their guns at Irma?
"To clarify, DO NOT shoot weapons @ #Irma," the office of the sheriff of Pasco County, on the state's west coast, tweeted late Saturday as the storm made landfall.
"You won't make it turn around & it will have very dangerous side effects" the message added, in reference to the unpredictable flight path shots fired may follow.
The idea started as a joke on Facebook, inspired by "a combination of stress and boredom," 22-year-old Ryon Edwards of DeLand told the BBC.
As of Sunday afternoon, some 54,000 people had marked themselves as "interested" in the event.
Many appeared to take the bizarre idea in the spirit Edwards seemed to intend, posting pictures of themselves in underwear or camouflage waving guns. One even suggested using a flame-thrower to teach Irma a lesson.
Other people saw no humor in the idea as the eye of the deadly storm rumbled ever nearer to Florida, with some calling Edwards "stupid" and saying he could "get people killed."
Given the large number of legal gun owners in Florida, the Pasco sheriff decided it was necessary to clarify things.
Edwards - whose Facebook page shows a bearded and tattooed young man cradling a gray cat - himself acknowledged that things had gotten out of hand.
"It was cool to see the response this got," Edwards later posted, adding, "On another note, I've learned that about 50% of the world could not understand sarcasm to save their lives."
Fatal car crashes in Florida
Downtown Miami inundated
Our night picture editor, Laura Hegarty, has spotted these striking images on Twitter.
Donald Trump takes questions on the White House lawn
Here's the full Q&A with Trump on the South Lawn:
Q: Mr. President, how's the Irma response so far?
POTUS: I think it's been going really well. It's a rough hurricane, as you better than anybody. The Coast Guard has been amazing already. You've been hearing what they're doing right in the middle of the storm. FEMA has been incredible. We're working very well with the governor and the other governors in the surrounding states.
I just got back — we had the Cabinet, the whole Cabinet now. Every group is coordinating really well. The bad news is this some big monster, but I think we're very well put.
Q: Message for people in the storm's path?
Well, I hope there aren't too many people in the path. You don't want to be in that path. That's a path you don't want to be in. We tried to warn everybody. For the most part, they've left, but that's a bad path to be in.
I'll be going to Florida very soon.
Q: What concerns you most?
Just the power of those hurricanes. Probably, I saw somebody say 57 years now. Now, who knows what that means? But it's about the biggest ever recorded at land, and unfortunately, we got it.
Now, it may, we may have been a little bit lucky that it went on the west. It may not have been quite as destructive, but we're going to see how it's going to play out over the next five or six hours.
I'm going in now for meetings, but it's all about coordination. I think we're really well coordinated as well as you could possibly be. And I'll tell you what, we have great people, and a group that really deserves tremendous credit is the United States Coast Guard. What they've done — I mean, they've gone right into that, and you never know. When you go in there, you don't know if you're going to come out. They are really — if you talk about branding, no brand has improved more than the United States Coast Guard.
And FEMA, and the entire group, FEMA's been incredible. So, now we'll see what happens. Really, I think the hard part is now beginning.
Q: How much will this cost?
Right now, we're worried about lives, not cost.
Scene in Miami
Donald and Melania Trump arrive back at the White House after weekend at Camp David
View from the heart of the Hurricane
My colleague, Rob Crilly, is in Fort Lauderdale.
We're at the peak of the storm here in Fort Lauderdale.
My phone has just gone with yet another tornado alert and the rain is sheeting down so hard that it has started to seep under the door of my hotel room.
Part of the guttering came down earlier and fronds of palm trees litter the car park which is now several inches deep in water.
The most frightening moment came with huge a rumble an hour or so ago.
A tornado moving fast from Fort Lauderdale Airport must have come close enough that I could hear its terrifying sound - resembling a freight train - as it raced north-east.
White House statement
President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and members of their Cabinet received a briefing from Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long, and Homeland Security Advisor Thomas P. Bossert on the ongoing Federal response and recovery operations for Hurricane Irma.
They also discussed Federal support for Hurricane Harvey recovery, which is still in the early stages.
President Trump stressed that his top priorities are life-saving and life-sustaining efforts in affected areas.
He emphasized the need to remain steadfast in supporting the recovery efforts in Texas, Louisiana, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico while responding to those affected by Hurricane Irma on the United States mainland.
Finally, he praised the leadership provided by the Governors of affected States and territories, the Department of Homeland Security, and FEMA before, during, and after the storm impacts.
The President mentioned that he is in regular contact with Governors currently in the path of Hurricane Irma, as well as Governors of the States and territories already impacted by the storm.
He continues to extend his thoughts and prayers to those affected, while recognizing the many volunteer and faith-based organizations dedicating their time and efforts to help their fellow Americans.
Gusts hit 130mph
130 mph wind gust just recorded at Marco Island Emergency Operations Center. #Irma— NWS Miami (@NWSMiami) September 10, 2017
Eye of the storm nears Naples
EYE OF HURRICANE IRMA, STILL A CATEGORY 3 WITH WINDS UP TO 120 MPH (195 KPH), APPROACHES NAPLES, FLORIDA -NHC
Hurricane Irma - in pictures
Police warn against over-indulgence at "hurricane parties"
My colleague, Julie Allen, writes:
Police are warning against the temptation to overindulge at so-called hurricane parties.
"We want everyone to be alert," Titusville Police Department Deputy Chief Todd Hutchinson said.
"And that would involve restraint when it comes to alcohol."
Shop owners in recent days have noticed shopping trolleys filled with liquor and cases of beer, according to USA Today.
A friend in Florida went to get supplies. This is the booze isle right now. pic.twitter.com/eiAZa5IvpD— Alma Har'el (@Almaharel) September 8, 2017
Meanwhile, back in the Caribbean...
From Cuba to Antigua, Caribbean islanders began counting the cost of Hurricane Irma on Sunday after the brutal storm left a trail of death, destruction and chaos that could take the tourist-dependent region years to recover from.
The ferocious Category 5 storm, which killed at least 28 people across the region, devastated housing, power supplies and communications, leaving some small islands almost cut off from the world. European nations sent military reinforcements to keep order amid looting while the damage was expected to total billions of dollars.
Ex-pat billionaires and poor islanders alike were forced to take cover as Irma tore roofs off buildings, flipped cars and killed livestock, raging from the Leeward Islands across Puerto Rico and Hispaniola then into Cuba before turning toward Florida.
Waves of up to 36 feet (11 meters) smashed businesses along the Cuban capital Havana's sea-side drive on Sunday morning. Further east, high winds whipped Varadero, the island's most important tourist resort.
"It's a complete disaster and it will take a great deal of work to get Varadero back on its feet," said Osmel de Armas, 53, an aquatic photographer who works on the beach at the battered resort.
Sea-front hotels were evacuated in Havana and relief workers spent the night rescuing people from homes in the city center as the sea penetrated to historic depths in the flood-prone area.
U.S President Donald Trump issued on Sunday a disaster declaration for Puerto Rico, where Irma killed at least 3 people and left hundreds of thousands without power. Trump also expanded federal funds available to the U.S. Virgin Islands, which suffered extensive damage to homes and infrastructure.
Further east in the Caribbean, battered islands such as St. Martin and Barbuda were taking stock of the damage as people began emerging from shelters to scenes of devastation.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the death toll on the Dutch part of St. Martin had risen to four from two, and that 70 percent of homes had been damaged or destroyed.
Following reports of looting, the Netherlands said it would increase its military presence to 550 soldiers on the island by Monday, and Rutte said that to ensure order, security forces were authorized to act with a "firm hand".
Dutch authorities are evacuating tourists and injured people to Curacao to the south, where Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk are expected to arrive today.
Irma now Category 3
Irma downgraded to Category Three hurricane, remains 'powerful': forecasters
Update from Florida governor
We're committed to providing every resource to Floridians for response & recovery. We will spare no expense to save lives & help Floridians.— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) September 10, 2017
I’m in constant communication with emergency management officials from across the state as #HurricaneIrma impacts Florida.— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) September 10, 2017
"MOVE AWAY FROM THE WATER"
Doctors flying into Florida
Ten thousand additional National Guard members
From Washington DC, Julie Allen writes:
Before the storm had barely begun, plans for the recovery effort were already underway. At a lunchtime press conference, Major General Michael Calhoun of the Florida National Guard announced that 10,000 National Guard members from 14 states will arrive in Florida to assist.
"Help is coming by air land and sea," he said.
Serious flooding in Havana
The latest images from Cuba show significant flooding in the capital.
Burglar in Florida shot by police as he raids empty house
Deputies shot and wounded a burglar and arrested his accomplice at a Florida home as Hurricane Irma blew in.
The Broward Sheriff's Office said in a news release on Sunday that the homeowners in Weston were out of town but saw the burglars remotely inside the house through a home surveillance system.
Deputies responded shortly before 3am and one of the two juvenile males was shot outside the home. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. The other person was arrested.
Their names were not immediately released.
Latest from the national weather center
SUMMARY OF 100 PM EDT...1700 UTC...INFORMATION ----------------------------------------------
- LOCATION...25.4N 81.7W ABOUT 50 MI...80 KM S OF NAPLES FLORIDA
- MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...130 MPH...215 KM/H
- PRESENT MOVEMENT...N OR 350 DEGREES AT 9 MPH...15 KM/H
- MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...933 MB...27.55 INCHES
Family film tree narrowly missing their house
Florida couple rescued after trying to sail through storm
Florida sheriff's deputies rescued a couple who tried to ride out Hurricane Irma on a small sailboat.
Christine Weiss of the Martin County Sheriff's Office said a passer-by noticed the couple was in trouble on Sunday. It happened just off Jensen Beach, which is on the Atlantic Coast north of Palm Beach.
Video shows a Martin County patrol boat manned by deputies John Howell and James Holloran and Detective Mathew Fritchie pulling up next to the sailboat.
The task of helping the couple onto their boat was precarious as both boats bobbed in choppy water. Deputies then took them to shore.
The names of the couple were not released. They were not injured.
Swimming pool under water...
Sheriff's deputy among dead in series of fatal car crashes
A sheriff's deputy is among three people who have died so far in Irma due to car crashes.
Deputy Julie Bridges, 42, died in a head-on collision in Hardee County, east of Sarasota, early on Sunday.
Sheriff Arnold Lanier told AFP:
"She had been working in a shelter all night, and ran home to get some supplies."
The roads were "wet and windy," he added, noting that Bridges was the mother of a young son and had worked for the sheriff's department for 13 years.
The other driver, a corrections officer on his way to work in a private vehicle, was also killed, said Mr Lanier.
The third fatality was a man who died on Saturday near Key West when his truck slammed into a tree, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. The truck was carrying a generator, ABC News reported.
Florida governor requests major disaster declaration
Rick Scott, the governor of Florida, has just told a press conference that he has requested a major disaster declaration from President Donald Trump.
"There is a serious threat of significant storm surge flooding along the entire west coast of Florida and 15 feet of impact above ground level in southwest Florida."
Storm chaser shows full force of the wind
A storm chaser has demonstrated the full force of Hurricane Irma as he attempted to stand up against its lashing winds in the Florida Keys.
Juston Drake, a meteorologist, was filmed stumbling backwards as he battled winds exceeding 100mph in Saddlebunch Keys, just off the mainland Florida.
Wearing a paintball mask, which was quickly ripped from his face, Mr Drake is almost blown off his feet at points as he attempts to get a wind speed reading.
Read the full story here - or just watch in awe at the video below...
Pictures from Florida
Irma sucking back the ocean
This video from Tampa mirrors similar scenes in the Bahamas where the hurricane has sucked back the sea, leaving just sand. The ocean is expected to crash back over the land again as the wind changes doirection.
Tampa’s mayor, Bob Buckhorn, has delivered a dire warning for everyone in one of Florida’s most densely populated regions.
“We know we are ground zero for this storm. We have avoided it for 90 winds but our time has come to be ready,” he wrote on Twitter. “We are about to get punched in the face by this storm.
“If you are out on the streets after 6pm we will direct you to get inside. We are taking this curfew very seriously,” he wrote.
“We will not be able to come help you if the winds are sustained at 40mph or greater. We cannot put our first responders at risk.”
We are about to get punched in the face by this storm. We need to be prepared.— Bob Buckhorn (@BobBuckhorn) September 10, 2017
These are the final hours to act, he added: “We could potentially take a direct hit in the Tampa Area. Take the time now to secure objects in your yard so they don’t become projectiles. The curfew will help us do our jobs to get in and clean up the debris. And @TampaElectric needs to get in to restore power.”
"We are going to have a lot of friends and neighbors who need our help, let’s look out for each other and we will get through this.”
Rescued Brit 'thankful' to be alive
A British tourist caught in the path of Hurricane Irma has said he is "thankful to be here" after he was rescued by the US Air Force.
Alex Woolfall was on holiday on the Caribbean island of St Martin when the historic storm struck.
The PR consultant, from London, went on Twitter to post updates as winds battered the Westin Hotel, where he was sheltering in a concrete stairwell.
He wrote: "My God this noise! It's like standing behind a jet engine!! Constant booms & bangs. At least concrete stairwell not moving"
Mr Woolfall said he was airlifted to safety in Puerto Rico by a military plane as powerful Hurricane Jose was approaching.
"I am just tired but very thankful to be here," he told the Press Association after his rescue.
"I think probably all those on vacation would say it was a nightmare but it's over for us.
"What about the people of St Martin and the other islands? I just hope the aid and support they need comes."
Mr Woolfall described the devastation on the island after Irma hit.
"It's very badly damaged and it's heart-breaking to see people whose homes have been destroyed sitting outside in the street, especially when you see young children too."
Mr Woolfall said local hotel staff continued coming to work, despite the damage to their own property, while the manager worked tirelessly to arrange planes.
"I found that astonishing and very moving," he added.
Here's an incredible reminder of the before and after footage of the Caribbean islands:
Crane blown over in Miami
Daredevil weatherman steps into storm to take reading
Simon Brewer, a meteorologist and "extreme" weather journalist, has just posted this footage on his social media account, which shows him being blasted backwards by the storm as he takes a reading of its speed.
Three million homes to go dark during Irma
As many as three million homes and business are expected to lose power due to Irma, according to Florida Power & Light, the state's main energy company.
Eric Silagy, chief executive, warned it could be "multi weeks" before before electricity is restored to all. As of 9am EST, at least 850,000 homes were in the dark.
Storm waters are surging in Key West as Hurricane Irma’s powerful eyewall moves into the Lower Keys, according to local journalist Larry Kahn who reported that “everything is underwater I mean everything."He added that a man died at the Marathon High School shelter last night.
Mr Kahn said he was told by a Sheriff’s Office deputy that the death was due to natural causes. “He was staying in one of the classrooms,” he added. “Police came up, along with a couple of nurses who are here, actually, got everyone out of the room and sealed it off.”
Emergency responders across South Florida urged residents to stay off the roads “Power lines are down and roads are flooded,” warned Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue. “It is extremely dangerous outside with flying debris. Stay inside and bunker down.”
Two dead in Florida car crash
The Florida Highway Patrol says two people have died in a head-on crash in a county where Hurricane Irma's wind and rain have started to blow in.
Agency spokesman Greg Bueno said the crash happened Sunday morning in Hardee County, which is southeast of Tampa.
It wasn't immediately clear what role the weather may have played. He says troopers are investigating the crash and no further details were immediately available.
Bueno said in an email that the area is starting to feel the effects of Hurricane Irma.
The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for the county, saying a severe thunderstorm was in the area.
Woman gives birth despite hurricane
Doctors were forced to talk a Florida woman through delivering her baby at home while Hurricane Irma's outer bands lashed Miami.
The City of Miami said on its Twitter account early Sunday that firefighters couldn't respond in time to the woman in the Little Haiti neighborhood. So doctors from Jackson Health System talked her through the birth of the baby girl at home.
Authorities say firefighters were able to make it to the woman Sunday morning and take her to the hospital after the girl was born.
Miami-Dade fire spokeswoman Erika Benitez said the fire department is responding to calls on a case-by-case basis as strong winds and rain lash the area. They are encouraging residents to stay inside because of downed power lines and debris.
Police: Please don't shoot at hurricane
Florida authorities have issued another stern warning about Hurricane Irma: Shooting bullets into the storm won't help keep you safe.
The Pasco County Sheriff's Office tweeted late Saturday: "DO NOT shoot weapons @ (hashtag) Irma. You won't make it turn around (and) it will have very dangerous side effects."
The sheriff's office, which is in the Tampa Bay-area, was responding to a Facebook event page created two Florida men inviting people to shoot at Irma.
Hey everyone here for shooting guns at hurricanes...how about you RT this, too, and get some volunteers for our shelters? pic.twitter.com/Bn9wL0U8xM— Pasco Sheriff (@PascoSheriff) September 10, 2017
The page reads: "YO SO THIS GOOFY ... LETS SHOW IRMA THAT WE SHOOT FIRST ..."
The invitation presumably was a joke, but 80,000 people indicated they were "going" or "interested" in the event.
In a tweet early Sunday, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office asked the thousands of people who had shared the page to also share their request for volunteers needed at hurricane shelters.
Irma 'about to make landfall' in Lower Keys
The National Hurricane Centre says Irma is about to make landfall in Lower Florida Keys.
Eye 15 miles southeast of Key West
The eye of Hurricane Irma is now just 15 miles southeast of Key West, forecasters report.
Hurricane has hit Florida Keys
Forecasters report that the hurricane has hit Florida Keys. More to follow.
Hundreds of thousands left without power
Hundreds of thousands of people are without power in Florida as Hurricane Irma's winds and rain lash the state.
Irma's center was over water off Key West early Sunday, but places including Miami were being hit with strong winds and rain.
Florida Power & Light Company said that about 430,000 customers were without power on Sunday morning. Miami-Dade County had the most outages with about 250,000. Broward County had 130,000 outages. Palm Beach County had more than 40,000 outages.
'Irma will hot Florida Keys in 40mins'
According to CNN, meteorologists believe the eye of Hurricane Irma will hit the Florida Keys area in roughly 40 minutes.
Watch: Defiant Floridians who plan to ride out the storm
Hurricane Jose spares French Caribbean islands
Storm-hit Saint Martin and Saint Barts escaped a further battering by Hurricane Jose, which had "markedly less" of an impact on the French Caribbean islands than anticipated, France's meteorological agency said Sunday.
The meteorological agency had issued its highest warning, saying the Category Four Hurricane Jose could become a "dangerous event of exceptional intensity".
But "there's not a cloud in the sky," one AFP reporter at the scene said.
Jose passed 135 kilometres (83 miles) north of Saint Barts and 125 kilometres from Saint Martin - 95 percent of which has already been ravaged by Hurricane Irma, which struck three days ago and is expected to reach Florida at 1000 GMT Sunday.
"Thanks to a passage which was further away than anticipated, the effects on the territory were markedly less," the meteorological agency said.
Many on St Martin, an island which is divided between France and The Netherlands and known for its vibrant nightlife and pristine beaches, had been concerned about where to go ahead of the second storm.
Fears of looting on British Virgin Islands
British troops and police have been deployed to restore law and order on the British Virgin Islands after reports of looting in the wake of deadly Hurricane Irma, the Defence Secretary has said.
Some 500 British troops have been sent to the region, with 120 stationed in the British Virgin Islands, which has been devastated by the historic storm.
Asked how big the looting problem was in the British territory, Sir Michael Fallon told BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show: "There has been a security issue there and that's why we're now prioritising getting armed troops in and police coming in behind them to strengthen the local police force.
"You can understand the island has been devastated, it's been difficult for people to move around until you get helicopters there, but there are troops now there assisting the Governor to ensure law and order is maintained."
Responding to criticism over the Government's response to the disaster, Sir Michael pointed to the 16,000-tonne aid ship, equipped with marines, a helicopter, and pallets of aid, which was stationed in the Caribbean for the hurricane season.
"We pre-positioned a ship in the Caribbean for the hurricane season," he said.
"Mounts Bay was not there by chance. We pre-positioned our ship there to help on the islands, she's already been helping on the islands and as soon as we were clear which airfields could be used we got our flights in. We have troops helping at the moment."
Irma, seen from space
These satellite images show the sheer scale of the hurricane from space.
They were posted on Twitter by Randy Bresnik, the US astronaut.
4m children at risk in Florida, aid workers warn
Up to four million children are in the path of Hurricane Irma, Save The Children has warned, as it announced the deployment of aid workers and supplies to the area.
“There are a multitude of risks to children during storms such as Irma—including storm damage, the chance of separation from parents and the psychological impacts of natural disaster,” said Carolyn Miles, the president of Save the Children in the United States.
“We urge parents to do everything they can to help keep their children safe and out of harm’s way, including talking to their children about the storm, filling out an In Case of Emergency card and evacuating to shelters or safer areas when told to do so by authorities.”
Mother-of-two Katherine Ann, from Brandon, Florida, told the charity: "My decision to evacuate my home and move further inland was for my children.
"I spoke to my 6-year-old about my own memories of hurricanes when I was growing up and answered his questions as truthfully as possible. The hurricane will be loud and scary, but I reminded him that there are caring adults all around to help protect him and his brother.”
From earlier: Tornado spotted at Fort Lauderdale
Twitter user Gabriel Ben shot this striking footage of a tornado approaching Fort Lauderdale Beach.
Eye of storm now 40 miles from Key West
Ryan Beesely, a Meteorologist at Fox 5 Atlanta, reports that Irma is now just 40 miles away from Key West.
Floridians take shelter in Germain Arena
These pictures show Gretchen Summer, 79, and her son, Dave Payson, 52, taking shelter from Hurricane Irma inside the Germain Arena in Estero, Florida.
Also in the arena are Sheryl and Rick Estes.
As Irma increased in strength she has also swung to the west.
The change in trajectory as she heads towards the Florida Keys could mean that Tampa and Miami are spared the head-on blow they are expecting.
Instead, St Petersburg could be hit, then moving on to Clearwater before finally moving inland, northwest of Ocala.
Tampa mayor preparing for Irma
Hurricane Jose bearing down on Caribbean, but weaker than expected
Another powerful storm, Category Four Hurricane Jose, was heading toward the same string of Caribbean islands Irma has pummeled in recent days, though it was now forecast to be weaker than initially expected.
The deteriorating weather grounded aircraft and prevented boats from bringing relief supplies to hard-hit islands.
Webcam captures somebody being knocked over by the waves
Even with Irma some way off the Florida coast, the waves are already powerful enough to send somebody flying.
Latest advice from the National Hurricane Centre
The centre is warning of an "imminent danger" of a life threatening storm surge and flooding in parts of Florida.
Tampa bracing itself for a tough few weeks
Tampa had not expected to find itself in the storm's path, but the change of trajectory has made the city vulnerable.
"We train for this all year round," Bob Buckhorn, Tampa's mayor told CNN. "We recognise living in Florida this was always a risk."
The risk faced by the city has been exacerbated by the fact that the storm surge is likely to coincide with high tide.
"What we have in Tampa is a predicament. We will emerge from it. But it will be a tough tough few weeks."
Around 140,000 without power
As the winds begin to pound southern Florida, damage is being done to the electrical infrastructure, "We have powerlines down, some transformers are down, but we are holding out," Major Richard Rand of North Miami Beach told CNN,
He estimated that around 140,000 people were without power in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.
His officers are on the ground to head off the threat of looting. "We are trying to keep away the element we don't want in the city - breaking into our homes and businesses."
Dedicated pet shelter set up in Miami Dade
A school has been converted into a dedicated shelter for pets. Families can leave their animals there before going to a shelter of their own.
Elsewhere Southwest Airlines flew 60 animals stranded by Hurricane Harvey from Houston to San Diego.
Hurricane Irma winds reaching 125mph
Hurricane Irma, which at 10 pm local time was less than 100 miles off Key West, has been strengthening, with winds reaching 125 mph, forecasters said.
'Time to talk about climate change' says Miami's Republican mayor'
Miami's mayor, Mayor Tomás Regalado, has called on Donald Trump - who once dismissed climate change as a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese - to think again.
“If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is," he said after declaring an emergency in his city.
“This is a truly, truly poster child for what is to come.”
“I don’t want to be political, but the fact of the matter is that this is a lesson that we need protection from nature,” he added. “So, I think this is a lesson for the people to say you know what? We have to be prepared.”
Wide ranging power cuts feared
Already 76,000 people are without electricity. It is feared that outages could affect around 9 million people when Irma hits Florida
Winds reach Florida's southern shore
Hurricane Irma's winds have started battering the southern shores of Florida, ahead of making landfall.
“The storm is here,” Florida's governor, told a news conference, adding that 25,000 people had already lost power.The full force of the hurricane is not expected until Sunday with Florida's west coast set to face the worst battering with storm surges reaching 15 feet in places.
'Just get out of its way' - Donald Trump
President Donald Trump on Saturday has urged any U.S. residents still in Hurricane Irma's path to "just get out of its way" and not worry about possessions, as he monitored the powerful storm's advance on Florida from the secluded Camp David presidential retreat.
Irma was expected to strike the Florida Keys at daybreak Sunday, with Hurricane Jose following closely behind.
Trump said Irma is a "storm of enormous destructive power and I ask everyone in the storm path to heed all instructions, get out of its way."
"Property is replaceable but lives are not and safety has to come first," Mr Trump said at a Cabinet meeting at the president retreat in Maryland,
"Don't worry about it. Just get out of its way," he said."We've never seen anything like this."
First sightings of a tornado in Fort Lauderdale
Skies are darkening in Fort Lauderdale reports Rob Crilly from the Florida resort amid early sightings of a tornado offshore.