Hurricane Irma is barreling up the Sunshine State, bringing heavy rainfall and powerful winds. The deadly hurricane, which is now a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of 105 miles per hour, has passed through Naples and continues to head north, with Fort Myers and Tampa in its path.
Millions of Floridians are under orders to evacuate, and many are desperately seeking shelter from the storm. One Naples resident told ABC News she was turned away from two shelters before she and her 10-year-old son were finally accepted at one.
“We have a dog and there were not that many shelters that accepted dogs,” she said, adding, “We didn’t want to be that far away from our home.” While she and her son stay inside the shelter, her husband is hunkering down with their dog at home.
Irma made its second landfall on Marco Island along the southwest Florida coast this afternoon with 115 mph winds after battering the Florida Keys earlier today.
The hurricane has left at least four people dead in Florida, including a sheriff’s deputy, and at least 27 people were killed in the Caribbean.
Beyond the winds and rain that Irma is bringing, the storm surge is also expected to be devastating — in Naples, waters rose four feet in just 30 minutes.
How Key West and Miami fared this morning
The Florida Keys were hit hard with wind gusts of 120 mph in parts and 89 mph winds in Key West.
Officials in the Florida Keys said that residents who evacuated should not return until further notice.
From there, the storm lashed Miami with winds whipping around high-rise buildings at speeds approaching 100 mph, the National Weather Service said. Two cranes collapsed in the city and a 94 mph wind gust was recorded at Miami International Airport.
Along with the strong gusts of wind, water rushed through Miami’s streets. One resident said streets were flooded up to the newspaper stands and the winds were so powerful that windows cracked from the sheer force of the gusts.
The CEO of Miami International Airport said the airport “sustained significant water damage” with gusts of nearly 100 mph.
Naples pelted with wind and rain
Visibility became poor in Naples this afternoon as the eye of the storm neared.
Some now sheltered in Naples had fled from the eastern side of Florida after it was first forecast that Irma would hit the eastern coastline. The mayor of Naples said those in hotels around the city were ordered out of common areas and into their rooms.
After the bulk of the storm passed over the city, Naples officials said that the city’s water distribution lines have been broken so residents are being told to biol the water that is coming out of taps.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned residents of dangerous storm surges that could reach 10 to 15 feet above sea level in the Naples area.
“Do not think the storm is over when the wind slows down,” Scott said Saturday. The dangerous storm surge “will rush in and could kill you.”
There have already been four deaths reported in Florida, including a man in Monroe County, which encompasses Key West. He was killed after he lost control of a truck that carried a generator as winds whipped at tropical-storm strength, officials said.