Trump in contact with state governors over Irma

This image shows evacuees driving northward ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma

Irma aims full fury at Florida's Gulf Coast, floods central Miami (VIDEO)

As Hurricane Irma battered the western coast of Florida on Sunday, the westward shift of the storm's eye created conditions for a risky storm surge for those on the state's western coast.

Speaking on "Fox News Sunday" as Irma began its assault on Florida on Sunday morning, Long called the storm a "complex event" in particular because of its movement from the southern part of the state to the north.

Around 3.5 million Florida residents have been left without power, according to data from the Florida Power & Light Company.

The emergency declarations have been approved by the President in the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Georgia and the Sunshine State - Florida. Cities flooded, power lines were downed and trees were uprooted across the state. Gov.

Key West business owner Jason Jonas said he stayed behind because he's in a home that is "built like a bunker".

"This is likely to be one of the largest and most complex power restoration efforts in USA history", said Tom Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, an industry trade group. The governor described overturned mobile homes, washed-ashore boats and rampant flood damage.

Flooding has caused property damage in the low-lying Keys as Hurricane Irma unleashes its power. Matthew did not come on shore and damage infrastructure, and it took the utility about two days to restore power.

Irma aims full fury at Florida's Gulf Coast, floods central Miami (VIDEO)
2 stranded manatees helped after Irma sucks water from bay

- Storm surge warnings in Florida, Georgia and SC mean "there is a danger of life-threatening inundation", the hurricane center said.

Authorities have sent an aircraft carrier and other Navy ships to aid search-and-rescue operations amid reports of wide devastation in the hurricane-battered Florida Keys. A total of 7 million people were told to evacuate ahead of the storm.

"We have no electricity, at least in this pat of Key West, we have no water, we have no internet service", Dave Gonzales, the museum's curator, said on MSNBC Sunday night.

A tornado spun off by Irma was reported on the Georgia coast, and firefighters inland had to rescue several people after trees fell on their homes.

Hurricane Jose is lingering in the Atlantic as a category three hurricane, amid fears it could affect parts of the USA east coast later this week.

Alabama and North Carolina may also be affected, FEMA said. Petersburg area were braced for its first direct hit from a major hurricane since 1921.

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