Tropical Storm Irma could bring strong winds, heavy rain to Alabama today

Irma at one time was the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the open Atlantic, a Category 5 with a peak wind speed of 185 mph, and its approach set off alarm in Florida.

East of Tampa, winds knocked a utility pole and power lines on to a sheriff's vehicle in Polk County.

Rain from Irma was already falling on the state early Monday and would continue to spread to the north and west through the day. "This is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation", the National Weather Service said as the storm closed in a second time near Naples. They said it could take weeks to fully restore service. More than 100,000 were in the dark in Georgia.

Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys on Sunday morning with top sustained winds of 130 mph.

In Atlanta, people nervously watched towering oak trees as the city, 250 miles inland, experienced its first tropical storm warning.

Other parts of the state escaped the storm lightly compared to the Caribbean islands.

Irma is now located about 30km from Lakeland, Florida, the NHC said, adding that hurricane and tropical storm warnings remain in the state.

A Key Largo restaurant and bar called Snappers - where Weir had interviewed people on Thursday as the storm was still days away - is now "completely gone", Weir said.

The county administrator, Roman Gastesi, said crews would begin house-to-house searches this morning to check on survivors.

Some seeking re-entry argued with police who stopped them at the first of a series of bridges leading to the island chain.

Hurricane Irma: Storm hits west coast of Florida
IRMA'S AFTERMATH | Storm triggers tornado in coastal Georgia

High winds snapped power lines and left about 5.8 million Florida homes and businesses without power, state data showed. He almost loses his footing and is forced to stagger back to safety.

Tonight, after seeing the winds and rain, there is real concern over what you don't see during the storm. Irma sent 4 feet of ocean water into downtown Charleston, South Carolina, as the storm's center passed 250 miles (400 kilometers) away.

Irma was expected to cause billions of dollars in damage to the third-most-populous U.S. state. Not long ago, we were on the air with Matt Gutman when it hit right here.

In Redington Shores west of Tampa, attorney Carl Roberts spent a sleepless night riding out Irma in his 17th floor beachfront condo. "Cash donations allow relief supplies to be purchased near the disaster site, avoiding delays, and steep transportation and logistical costs that can encumber material donations".

In fact, people living hundreds of kilometres outside of the cone will feel Irma's wrath, with hurricane-force winds extending 200km in diameter. The band of rain and tornado producing cells was moving quickly, officials said. "There are a lot of Brits on holiday there and we have sent UK consular representatives". "Winds will and do pick up again once the eye passes".

Macron promised to go to the region as soon as weather conditions allowed.

"Anyone who didn't heed the evacuation orders here in Miami Beach, it's time to bunker down", Van Dam said.

"U-Haul is a member of these communities and it is important for us to help", U-Haul Company of Central Georgia president Jason Petty told the AP.

Florida's governor activated all 7,000 members of the Florida National Guard, and 10,000 guardsmen from elsewhere were being deployed.

  • Leon Brazil