As Irma reaches the Florida Keys, residents remain without power and immense damage is expected in the state. Millions of residents fled the area while some still insist to remain. Meanwhile, floodwaters are rising in Miami. Watch live coverage from Florida below.
Watch: Florida Governer Rick Scott urging remaning residents to evacute
After millions of residents have already evacuated and as hundreds of thousands remain without power, the Irma superstorm hit the Florida Keys Sunday morning. Powerful winds and heavy rainfall have already started and tornadoes began forming on the coast.
As Irma hit, the few who remained in the area continued to prepare for the superstorm’s arrival in the inland parts of the state, which is expected to take place later this afternoon. Meanwhile, Miami’s streets are already filling up with rising floodwaters.
Irma approaching Florida Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News
After weakening a little over the ocean, Irma regained momentum and was upgraded to a category 4 storm as feared. Authorities warned residents of the likely damage expected in the area and begged the few who insisted to remain in their homes to evacuate before it’s too late.
US weather authorities reported that after the storm strengthened, winds up to 200 kph (124 mph) were recorded in the storm’s eyewall. “If you have been ordered to evacuate, you need to leave now,” warned Florida Governor Rick Scott. “This is your last chance to make a good decision.”
Authorities are meanwhile preparing for widespread flooding and a complex rescue operation of thousands of residents. During the night, Irma continued its northwestern course directly towards US territories after hitting Cuba.
Some Israelis in Florida are among some of those who opted to remain in the area instead of evacuating, or were forced to remain due to a lack of flights and heavy traffic. Etti Burtman, an Israeli living in Miami, chose to stay and prepared her home for the storm. “We brought everything inside the house, we have guests who joined us,” Burtman told Channel 2 News. “We were instructed not to be outside after 4 in the afternoon.”
Millions urged to evacute Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News