Hurricane Jose remains a unsafe Category 4 storm

Hurricane Irma

Heavy storm surge washes over Lower Keys as Hurricane Irma crosses

As Hurricane Irma plowed through Florida early Monday, a hurricane watch remained in effect for parts of the SC coast even as the monster storm was downgraded to a Category 1.

A weakened Irma spread misery around the Southeast on Monday, triggering coastal flooding in parts of Georgia and SC while dumping heavy rains around the region.

"I've heard there's some significant damage, right where the eye of the storm hit", Gov Scott told NBC's Today show. "This is a deadly storm and our state has never seen anything like it", Florida Gov. Rick Scott said this morning.

In Miami Beach, streets were already submerged after torrential rain.

The National Weather Service lowered the expected total rainfall for most of the Upstate.

As the hurricane moves north and the wind directions change, the water will start to rush back in and storm surge flooding will occur.

Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes on record before it arrived in the United States, killed 43 people in its rampage through the Caribbean and at least 12 in Florida, Georgia and SC. The governor also ordered that the state government be shut Monday and Tuesday "for all employees except essential personnel". "We're gonna ride it out", Cone said. It's going to be tough for us to get in to perform search and rescue in South Florida. Many classrooms also were closed in Georgia, which was was under a tropical storm warning for much of Monday. However, they warned its maximum sustained winds were 70 miles per hour (110 kph), with higher gusts.

The scramble to get out of the hurricane's path was so acute that the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday evening said air traffic controllers were increasing the space between flights from Miami and nearby Fort Lauderdale to enable them to better manage the crowded skies. In the following days, Irma is forecast to head through Florida and Georgia into Tennessee. Production is expected to resume on Wednesday.

At least nine people are dead after the storm battered the states of Florida, Georgia and SC. We have a county-by-county guide.

Irma's powerful winds first blow offshore, essentially sucking the water away from the coast. More than 100,000 were without power in Georgia.

Empty properties and businesses have been sacked by the opportunistic thieves, however police say they have made several arrests and will crack down hard on looters.

Jose, with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph, was about 85 miles north-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands around 5 p.m. ET.

Punta Gorda has damage and flooding as well as parts of Port Charlotte. Tropical storm and hurricane conditions were also predicted to spread into the Florida Panhandle, eastern Alabama, much of Georgia and southern SC by Monday.

The National Weather Service in Miami has issued tornado warnings for a wide swath of Monroe, Miami-Dade and Broward counties in South Florida.

Latest News