Restoring power to Florida will take 'weeks, not days' in some areas

Funky Matas skateboards along South Beach as the effects of Hurricane Irma are felt in Miami Beach Fla. Saturday Sept. 9 2017

The number of people left without power in Florida increased to 5.8 million overnight as Irma downed trees and flooded streets throughout the entirety of the state, state officials said Monday.

Jessica Chase, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Huntsville said areas of higher elevation, like DeKalb County, will experience strong winds.

He can be seen pointing out debris in the water from his docked vessel before he admits on camera that he has never been on a boat during a hurricane before.

Two tornadoes touched down in Brevard County, on the Atlantic Coast; Miami's major airport sustained damage and remained closed; and storm surges and additional flooding were expected on the Gulf Coast.

Irma, which made landfall in the Florida Keys yesterday afternoon as a Category 4 hurricane, has now been downgraded to a tropical storm.

Also, more than 70 percent of the customers of the two largest electric utilities in Florida were without power, according to the State Emergency Response Team. Twitter and Facebook users across the Caribbean and Florida posted footage of the monster storm as it tore through the region. "They were on their cell phones and they were kind of blowing through", he said.

The National Weather Service (NWS) said alerts for tornadoes were in place across southern Florida until midnight on Monday (5am United Kingdom time). Of course, it's expected that pilots would avoid the state as a result of the risky conditions caused by Irma, but regardless the radar image is still very powerful.

A car rides in the shoulder to pass other cars in evacuation traffic on I-75 N near Brooksville Fla. in advance of Hurricane Irma Saturday Sept 9 2017

Castro said Irma had caused "severe damage to the country" but he added that the scale of the destruction had yet to be fully established because of its country's size.

Tens of thousands of people huddled in shelters watched for updates.

Irma is still forecast to move away from North Carolina.

Cumberland, Hoke, Moore and Robeson counties are included in a Wind Advisory that goes into effect at noon on Monday. Now a tropical storm, the system is still capable of producing hurricane-strength gusts, and maximum sustained winds of about 70 miles per hour.

"We are expecting to see the highest wind gusts during the overnight hours after sunset to around 4 a.m".

At least four people are believed to have lost their lives as a result of the storm in Florida.

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