Dramatic image shows where Hurricane Irma may be headed


Official National Hurricane Center track has Irma starting its track northward and strengthening slightly before making landfall along the west coast of Florida.

Hurricane Irma hit Barbuda as a Category 5 hurricane on Wednesday, killing one person and damaging 95% of the island's buildings, said Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda.

By Monday afternoon, more than 800,000 Georgia Power and EMC customers mostly in coastal and south Georgia were without power.

At least nine deaths in the USA are now attributed to Irma, some hit by falling trees or tree limbs and one killed in a storm-related auto accident. At least five deaths are now associated with Irma in Florida, according to officials.

Irma is now a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with sustained winds of 125 miles per hour, and is located along the northern coast of Cuba.

As Irma weakened into a tropical storm and finally left Florida on Monday after a run up the entire 400-mile length of the state, the full scale of its destruction was still unknown, in part because of cutoff communications and blocked roads.

"We got the opposite results from what I expected because those who stayed and who were under mandatory evacuation, they had more dependable social networks than those who evacuated", said Jennifer Collins, one of the University of South Florida researchers who conducted the study.

Burns said the wind and rain will taper off by Tuesday morning.

Glynn County is still under a tropical storm warning as well as a storm surge warning. Heavy rain and tropical-storm force winds are also possible across much of SC, leading to flooding and power outages.

Burns is also warning of possible tornadoes spinning off from the storm. "And as I've been saying, paperwork and money's not going to get in the way of us mobilizing and saving lives".

"When that sun came out this morning and the damage was minimal, it became a good day", said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. It also spread misery into Georgia and SC as it moved inland with winds at 50 miles per hour, causing flooding and power outages. "I had expected it but to see it must really be dramatic if you actually get to go out there and take a look at it".

The surprising amount of damage on the east coast was affected by the length of time and the consistent direction from which the wind blew - basically southeast for almost a day along most of the east coast.

The watch goes into effect at 8 a.m. Monday until 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Flash flooding will also be a problem as a large portion of Florida will see over 10 inches of rain.

Forecast models had anticipated Irma turning north earlier than it did, Jones said.

"As we head into the afternoon and evening commutes home, we'll be dealing with those gusts of 60 miles per hour".

"We're taking precautions in every area but there are certainly things that we can not control", Deal said.

Travel could possibly result in citizens being stranded on the roadway or battling high cross winds and rain.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said the situation was not as bad as it could have been but warned residents that risky storm surge continued.