Hurricane Irma is nearing Ft. Myers with maximum sustained winds continuing to near 105 mph. Although the storm is expected to continue to weaken, according to the National Hurricane Center, it should remain a hurricane at least through Monday morning as the storm’s eye moves near or over the west coast of Florida, and then inland over northern Florida and southwest Georgia Monday afternoon.
A hurricane warning remains in effect for Fernandina Beach southward around the Florida peninsula to Indian Pass, the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee and Florida Bay. A hurricane watch is in effect for an area north of Fernandina Beach to Edisto Beach, while a tropical storm warning is in effect for an area west of Indian Pass to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line; an area north of Fernandina Beach to South Santee River; and Bimini and Grand Bahama.
According to CBS News the storm hit Marco Island Sunday afternoon while it was still at Category 3 strength, after hitting the Florida Keys Sunday morning.
The Washington Post reports that the storm surge also raised water levels eight feet in two hours in Naples, with a rise in coastal water levels between 10 and 15 feet possible in other areas in the state.
“The Keys through Tampa will likely experience the worst storm surge event that area has seen in generations,” Bill Read, a former Hurricane Center director, told the Post.
In Miami, the storm brought winds approaching 100 mph and severe flooding, ABC News reports. The high winds also brought down two cranes.
The storm has also caused the closure of cruise ports and airports, including Port Tampa Bay, Port Canaveral, Port Everglades and PortMiami. Miami International Airport, Tampa International Airport, Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport and Orlando International Airport are likewise shut down.