The Florida Keys are on lockdown Sunday morning as the eye of Hurricane Irma, upgraded to Category 4 overnight, made landfall at 9:10 a.m. At 390 miles wide, with wind gusts of 160 milers per hour and a shifting trajectory, the monster storm has left few places to run. Floridians zigzagged the state over the weekend as Irma drifted west and Gov. Rick Scott ordered the largest evacuation in U.S. history with 6.3 million ordered to seek shelter from potential building-high storm surges and life-threatening winds.
While South Florida learned it would be spared the worst Saturday, Irma’s new course just meant a more brutal hell for the state’s southwest coast. Irma looks set to hug the warm Gulf coastline all the way to Tampa — Florida’s second largest metro area and most vulnerable flooding target. With low-lying land and shallow waters in massive Tampa Bay, Irma has nowhere to push the water but inland.
A direct hit on Tampa carries projected property losses upwards of $175 billion, according to the Miami Herald, compared to estimates of $80 billion in Miami in the event of a direct hit. As of Sunday morning, 124,000 people were in 450 shelters statewide, and more than a million across the state had no power, with nearly 500,000 of those are located in Miami-Dade.
Hurricane Irma’s eye is hitting the Lower Keys. Wind gusts of 106 miles per hour reported.
Marathon, a city in the Florida Keys, is completely flooded, according to the Miami Herald.
More Keys footage by Weather Channel storm rider Simon Brewer:
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler warns “powerlines are down and roads are flooded.”
Tornado warnings dotted the Tri-county area Saturday, with a reported touchdown in Oakland Park.
Atlanta, Ga., is under Tropical Storm Watch for the first time, says Weather Channel meteorologist Kathryn Prociv.
Massive construction cranes spin in Downtown Miami by Biscayne Bay.
How Miami PD does hurricanes:
Florida law enforcement is issuing a very Florida warning to residents.