Deal expands state of emergency to include all 159 counties

Coral Gables

The storm engulfed almost the entire Florida peninsula, wreaking havoc from the state's southernmost point up to the Georgia border, from the Atlantic coast to the Gulf side. From Texas to Louisiana, from Florida to Puerto Rico, and always the U.S. Virgin Islands, and everywhere in between that has been affected by these bad storms: "we will endure and come back stronger than ever before", the president said.

Cooper added that statewide preparedness was "crucial", and said emergency management teams were continuing to take the "large and powerful storm seriously". "Due to the size of the storm, all of Georgia may potentially be impacted, regardless of Hurricane Irma's exact track".

Cooper said unsafe surf and rip currents will continue on the coast and rain could bring flash flooding to some areas.

Grocery store parking lots are full, gas prices are soaring and some local schools are closing already ahead of Hurricane Irma. Scattered power outages are possible anywhere across the state Monday and Tuesday.

U.S. Northern Command is fully engaged with federal, state, territorial and worldwide mission partners as the command continues its planning, pre-positioning and initial Defense Department response efforts for Hurricane Irma.

The National Guard will stage crews in Greensboro, Asheville and Charlotte on Sunday, according to Cooper. Cooper also reiterated that despite a few isolated and intermittent shortages, there was no concern for the state's fuel supply.

Hurricane Irma gave Florida a coast-to-coast pummeling with winds up to 130 miles per hour Sunday, swamping homes and boats, knocking out power to millions and toppling massive construction cranes over the Miami skyline. Many left before Saturday, while others have chose to stay.

A car sits in a flooded parking lot outside the Germain Arena in Estero Florida
A car sits in a flooded parking lot outside the Germain Arena in Estero Florida

"Once the storm starts, law enforcement can not save you", Scott said at a news conference in Sarasota.

Irma's center was about 100 km north of Tampa early Monday, though in a much-weakened state. In the coming days, Irma is expected to push into Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and beyond.

By the time the once-monster storm makes its way far enough north for North Carolina to feel any effects, it will have weakened a long way from the Category 3 that threatens landfall along the west coast of Florida Sunday.

In an executive order, Deal said, in part, "Hurricane Irma will now potentially produce excessive rainfall and damaging winds, causing extensive flooding, fallen trees and the closure of numerous roads throughout the state of Georgia". Irma will move along or near Florida's southwest coast Sunday afternoon. While the company has contacted and requested aid through the mutual assistance network, resources have been assigned to harder-hit areas in Florida first before travelling to Georgia.

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee has issued a HURRICANE WARNING for most of the Big Bend and South Georgia.

"This is a deadly storm and our state has never seen anything like it", Scott said.

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