While the confirmed death toll is currently just four, the suffering from Irma's onslaught is much wider, with more than three million losing power and swaths of Miami - where two cranes were toppled - left flooded. "That's where the storm surge is most prevalent and the inland winds are going to be tough".
Now a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph, Hurricane Irma is about 50 miles east-northeast of Fort Myers, Florida, moving north at 14 mph.
Irma is already uprooting trees and turning streets into rivers.
Klotzbach looked at hurricane center storm surge maps splashed with bright yellows and reds and said Naples made him especially nervous. "Win the game, then focus on everything else".
More than a quarter of Florida's population was ordered to evacuate-about 6.4 million people.
Areas of Naples are now suffering substantial flooding and swaths of the west coast - as well as lakes, bays and sounds nearby - are under 15ft (4.5m) storm surge warnings.
Someone set up a Facebook event, which has over 46,000 people attending, which suggested that shooting at Irma would be the best course of action in defending Florida from the storm.
The "whole government is mobilized" to help, said Interior Minister Gerard Collomb. Petersburg area, once thought to be relatively safe from harm, suddenly found itself in the storm's crosshairs.
He warned of a 12ft storm surge that could threaten the lives of anyone remaining in the state.
"That honestly more than the wind is going to be the story", he said.
Irma changed paths Saturday night, heading on a new track that could expose St. Petersburg to a direct hit, instead of Miami or Tampa. No injuries have been reported.
At least 24 people were killed as Irma pounded the northern Caribbean.
Amid urgent warnings from state officials to evacuate before it was too late, downtown Miami was all but abandoned.
Rubio acknowledged some people had fled their homes only to arrive in areas expected to be in the storm's path, but he advised people in that situation to hunker down.
"There were distractions", FIU coach Butch Davis said. "Our players didn't want to come because there's a lot of players not wanting to leave their families".
Antonio Wilson stayed in his 16th-floor condo in Miami, watching the waters rise below.
"You can't survive these storm surges", he said.
"Over 99 percent of the people out there have common sense and are listening, but we in law enforcement deal with the 1 percent, so we are trying to get the message to them", the sheriff told USA Today.
Low pressure is basically a sucking mechanism - it sucks the air into it, and when it's really low, it can change the shape of the surface of the ocean.
ASTONISHING footage shows a man being flattened as he stops to film colossal waves caused Hurricane Irma as the megastorm barrels towards the US mainland. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued a mandatory evacuation for some barrier islands, while Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal expanded a state of emergency to include 94 counties.
Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don and Emily have all been used for tropical storms. Schools in the state planned to close Monday.
Irma hit Cuba's Ciego de Avila province late Friday as a Category 5 hurricane before it weakened and headed to the United States. "It took longer to make that turn to the north that we started to see more over the last 12 hours".
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