roared through the Florida Keys with punishing winds Sunday and began pushing its way north, flooding streets, spawning tornadoes, knocking out power to more than 3 million people across the state and snapping massive construction cranes over the Miami skyline.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its 11 p.m. advisory that Irma was moving north and will continue to move over the western Florida peninsula through Monday morning and then into the southeastern United States late Monday and Tuesday.
Late Sunday afternoon, Irma made landfall on Marco Island as a Category 3 storm. The NHC in Miami said Irma’s powerful eye roared ashore at Marco Island just south of Naples with 115 mph winds, for a second U.S. landfall at 3:35 p.m. Sunday. Category 3 storms have winds from 111 to 129 mph, but a 130-mph wind gust was recently reported by the Marco Island Police Department.
The nearly 400-mile-wide storm is expected to make a slow, ruinous march up Florida’s west coast, straight toward the heavily populated Tampa-St. Petersburg area by Monday morning. Streets emptied across the bottom half of the Florida peninsula, and some 127,000 people huddled in shelters.
There were no immediate confirmed reports of any deaths from the storm.
“I know the winds are going to be very devastating and life threatening. But I’m also very concerned about the storm surge,” Gov. Rick Scott said on “.”
Hurricane warnings were in effect for Fernandina Beach southward around the Florida peninsula to Indian Pass, all of the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee and Florida Bay.
A Miami woman who went into labor was guided through delivery by phone when authorities couldn’t reach her in high winds and street flooding. Firefighters later took her to the hospital.
While the projected track showed Irma raking the state’s Gulf Coast, forecasters warned that the entire state — including the Miami metropolitan area of 6 million people — was in extreme peril because of the sheer size of the storm.
Nearly 7 million people in the Southeast were warned to evacuate, including 6.4 million in Florida alone.
The storm left at least 27 people dead.
Follow along below for live updates on the storm. All times are Eastern unless otherwise noted.
11 p.m.: Hurricane Irma nears Tampa as Category 2 storm
Hurricane Irma remains a dangerous Category 2 hurricane despite weakening a bit more to 100 mph. It’s now bearing down on the Tampa-St. Petersburg region.