At least three killed as Hurricane Irma lashes Florida

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

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

Hurricane Irma has made a northwest turn and is now pounding the Florida Keys.

The National Weather Service in Atlanta issued a tropical storm watch for the area Monday and Tuesday.

As of 6 a.m., over 5.7 million customers were without power in Florida - that's roughly 58 per cent of all customers in the state.

The storm has left a widespread trail of damage and destruction in its wake, from the Keys to Miami and north to Jacksonville as well as Georgia and SC.

Coastal communities reported rising flood waters in streets, three Miami construction cranes fell and a sewage pump in Hialeah failed. About 2,000 customers there are still without power.

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

Around 5.7 million homes and businesses in the state are without power, and more than 120 homes near Orlando have had to be evacuated from rising floodwaters.

"I don't think anybody alive today in this state has ever seen anything like this", Scott said at the state's emergency operations center when the first parts of the storm started to cross into the Florida Keys.

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

Irma is tied with with the 1932 Cuba hurricane in this regard. FEMA chief Brock Long has said some places won't have electricity for weeks.

The storm is continuing to move farther inland and is approaching the Georgia-Alabama border, a hurricane center forecaster says.

"We don't have a comprehensive insight into what the damage is", Bryan Koon, Florida director of Emergency Management said late Sunday.

After plowing a path of destruction through the Caribbean and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee in one of the largest evacuations in American history, Hurricane Irma began to maul southern Florida on Saturday and was poised to howl up its west coast Sunday with deadly force and fury.

Tampa, set to become the worst-hit mainland city, awoke to a chilling declaration from Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who told citizens they were "about to get punched in the face by this storm". Almost 7 million people in the Southeast were warned to get out of the storm's path, including 6.4 million in Florida alone. The governor said the route also needs to be cleared of debris and sand, but should be usable fairly quickly.

The hurricane, which killed at least 25 people as it tore through the Caribbean islands last week, has already claimed at least one life in Florida.

People in the heavily populated Tampa-St.

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