Hurricane Irma gives Florida a coast-to-coast pummeling

MIAMI (AP) — Hurricane Irma gave Florida a coast-to-coast pummeling with winds up to 130 mph Sunday, swamping homes and boats, knocking out power to millions and toppling massive construction cranes over the Miami skyline. The 400-mile-wide (640-kilometer-wide) storm blew ashore in the mostly cleared-out Florida Keys, then began a slow trek up the state’s west coast, its punishing winds extending clear across to Miami and West Palm Beach on the Atlantic side.

A rough surf surrounds Boynton Beach inlet as Hurricane Irma hits in Boynton Beach, Fla. (Jim Rassol/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

A street is flooded as Hurricane Irma passes through Naples, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A houses is surrounded by water as Hurricane Irma passes through Naples, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A person walks through a street lined with debris and fallen trees as Hurricane Irma passes through Naples, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The eye of Hurricane Irma passes through Naples, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The metal canopy at a gasoline station is shown after it was overturned by high winds brought on by Hurricane Irma, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in North Miami, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

A boat rests on its side in what is normally six feet of water in Old Tampa Bay, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. Hurricane Irma, and an unusual low tide pushed water out into the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

A palm tree blows in the wind as Hurricane Irma hits in Fort Myers, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

An American flag is torn as Hurricane Irma passes through Naples, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Flood waters rise around signs at the Haulover Marine Center at Haulover Park as Hurricane Irma passes by, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in North Miami Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

A floundered boat is shown at the Haulover Marine Center at Haulover Park as Hurricane Irma passes by Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in North Miami Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Heavy rains flood the streets in the Coconut Grove area in Miami on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, during Hurricane Irma. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Iris Belen, left, and Mouad El jamil watch weather updates on their phone after evacuating from their home to a shelter as Hurricane Irma approaches in Naples, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A car is parked on a flooded road as Hurricane Irma passes, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Surfside, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Palm Bay officer Dustin Terkoski walks over debris from a two-story home at Palm Point Subdivision in Brevard County, Fla., after a tornado touched down on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

Sailboats moored near Watson Island ride out the winds and waves as Hurricane Irma passes by, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Miami Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Mary Della Ratta, 94, sits in shelter after evacuating her home with the help of police last night ahead of Hurricane Irma in Naples, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. “I’m afraid of what’s going to happen. I don’t know what I’ll find when I go home,” said Della Ratta whose husband passed away ten years ago. “I have nobody. I’m all alone in this world.” (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A crane atop a high-rise under construction in downtown Miami collapsed Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, amid strong winds from Hurricane Irma. The crane collapsed in a bayfront area filled with hotels and high-rise condo and office buildings, near AmericanAirlines Arena, according to a tweet from the City of Miami. (Gideon J. Ape via AP)

Umbrellas held by Janesse Brown, left, and her daughter Briana Johnson, 12, right, get torn apart by strong winds as Kyra Johnson, 8 watch, while they tried to visit Southbank Riverwalk in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, as Hurricane Irma passes the area. (Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union via AP)

Umbrellas held by Janesse Brown, left, and her daughter Briana Johnson, 12, right, get torn apart by strong winds as Kyra Johnson, 8 watch, while they tried to visit Southbank Riverwalk in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, as Hurricane Irma passes the area. (Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union via AP)

Television station WPLG caught a suspected looting incident at a Fort Lauderdale, Florida shoe store Sunday as Hurricane Irma approached the area. (Sept. 10)

Drone footage over Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, Florida Sunday showed receded waters along the waterfront road, leading forecasters to caution people not to venture out there since the water would return with a potentially deadly vengeance. (Sept. 10)

A monster Hurricane Irma roared into Florida Sunday with 130 mph winds, flooding streets and knocking out power to more than 1.5 million homes. In Palm Bay, a tornado triggered by Irma’s approach destroyed a number of mobile homes. (Sept. 10)

The National Weather Service in Miami has issued tornado warnings for a wide swath of Monroe, Miami-Dade and Broward counties in South Florida. (Sept. 10)

Floridians on the west coast experienced long lines and frustrating delays getting into shelters, despite a scramble to convert high schools, recreation centers, and other facilities into safe places to ride out the storm. (Sept. 9)

Irma Threat Doesn’t Stop Man From Daily Run

A condo owner who lives on a strip of beach on the Gulf of Mexico southwest of Tampa says he’ll ride out Hurricane Irma inside his condo on the building’s 17th floor. (Sept. 9)

Floridians on the west coast experienced long lines and frustrating delays getting into shelters, despite a scramble to convert high schools, recreation centers, and other facilities into safe places to ride out the storm. (Sept. 9)

President Donald Trump told reporters Sunday that the federal response to Hurricane Irma “has been going really well.” Trump said he plans to visit the state “very soon.” (Sept. 10)

A crane atop a high-rise under construction in downtown Miami collapsed Sunday amid strong winds from Hurricane Irma. The crane collapsed in a bayfront area filled with hotels and high-rise condo and office buildings. (Sept. 10)

Floridians on the west coast experienced long lines and frustrating delays getting into shelters, despite a scramble to convert high schools, recreation centers, and other facilities into safe places to ride out the storm. (Sept. 9)

Jennifer Nelson, right, senior keeper at Zoo Miami, smiles as she watches brother cheetahs named Koda and Diesel after they were moved to a hurricane resistant structure within the zoo, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017 in Miami. Though most animals will reman in their secure structures, the cheetahs and some birds will ride out the storm in temporary housing. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Cuba’s coastline was battered by Hurricane Irma on Saturday, with hurricane force winds raking the islands eastern provinces and causing storm surge of as much as 12 feet. (Sept. 9)

A man wades through a flooded street in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, in Caibarien, Cuba, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. There were no reports of deaths or injuries after heavy rain and winds from Irma lashed northeastern Cuba. Seawater surged three blocks inland in Caibarien. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

Residents begin the task of cleaning their flooded homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, in Caibarien, Cuba, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. There were no reports of deaths or injuries after heavy rain and winds from Irma lashed northeastern Cuba. Seawater surged three blocks inland in Caibarien. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

Cuba’s government TV showed Hurricane Irma battering the country’s southern coast early Saturday. The National Hurricane Center said the storm had weakened slightly to a Category 3 hurricane, as it moves over Cuba’s Camaguey Archipelago. (Sept. 9)

A woman rides a bike past palm trees felled by Hurricane Irma, in Caibarien, Cuba, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. There were no reports of deaths or injuries after heavy rain and winds from Irma lashed northeastern Cuba. Seawater surged three blocks inland in Caibarien. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

Flamingos at Zoo Miami, are shown in a temporary enclosure in a hurricane resistant structure within the zoo, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017 in Miami. Though most animals will reman in their secure structures, the cheetahs and some birds will ride out the storm in temporary housing. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Jennifer Nelson, senior keeper at Zoo Miami, leads a cheetah named Koda to a hurricane resistant structure within the zoo, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017 in Miami. Though most animals will reman in their secure structures, Koda and his brother Diesel and some birds will ride out the storm in temporary housing. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Jennifer Nelson, senior keeper at Zoo Miami, leads a cheetah named Koda to a hurricane resistant structure within the zoo, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017 in Miami. Though most animals will reman in their secure structures, Koda and his brother Diesel and some birds will ride out the storm in temporary housing. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

A tree felled by Hurricane Irma blocks a road in Caibarien, Cuba, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. There were no reports of deaths or injuries after heavy rain and winds from Irma lashed northeastern Cuba. Seawater surged three blocks inland in Caibarien. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

NASA on Friday released footage of hurricanes Jose and Irma as they appear from the International Space Station. (Sept. 9)

Rough seas flood a seawall on the eastern end of Nassau, Bahamas, Saturday, Sept 9, 2017, as Hurricane Irma moves along the coast of Cuba. (AP Photo/Tim Aylen)

Strong waves brought by Hurricane Irma hit the Malecon seawall in Havana, Cuba, late Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Residents venture out after the passing of Hurricane Irma in Caibarien, Cuba, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. There were no reports of deaths or injuries after heavy rain and winds from Irma lashed northeastern Cuba. Seawater surged three blocks inland in Caibarien. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

Men wade through a flooded street, caused by the passing of Hurricane Irma in Havana, Cuba, early evening Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Residents walk near downed power lines felled by Hurricane Irma, in Caibarien, Cuba, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. There were no reports of deaths or injuries after heavy rain and winds from Irma lashed northeastern Cuba. Seawater surged three blocks inland in Caibarien. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

Zookeeper Ryan Martinez leads an Indian white-rumped vulture into a crate as animals are moved into a shelter at the Zoo Miami in preparation for Hurricane Irma on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Miami. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP)

A sea wall is breeched by overflow as a bulk carrier leaves the bay of Havana, Cuba, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. There were no reports of deaths or injuries after heavy rain and winds from Hurricane Irma lashed northeastern Cuba. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Residents ride their bikes through flood waters in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, in Caibarien, Cuba, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. There were no reports of deaths or injuries after heavy rain and winds from Irma lashed northeastern Cuba. Seawater surged three blocks inland in Caibarien. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

A woman and child use a blanket as protection from wind and rain as they walk in Caibarien, Cuba, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. Hurricane Irma battered Cuba on Saturday with deafening winds and unremitting rain, pushing seawater inland and flooding homes before taking aim at Florida. Early Saturday, the hurricane center said the storm was centered about 10 miles (15 kilometers) northwest of the town of Caibarien. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

Television station WPLG caught a suspected looting incident at a Fort Lauderdale, Florida shoe store Sunday as Hurricane Irma approached the area. (Sept. 10)

MIAMI (AP) — Hurricane Irma gave Florida a coast-to-coast pummeling with winds up to 130 mph Sunday, swamping homes and boats, knocking out power to millions and toppling massive construction cranes over the Miami skyline.

The 400-mile-wide (640-kilometer-wide) storm blew ashore in the mostly cleared-out Florida Keys, then began a slow trek up the state’s west coast, its punishing winds extending clear across to Miami and West Palm Beach on the Atlantic side.

Irma was expected to reach the heavily populated Tampa-St. Petersburg area by early Monday, though in a much-weakened state. While it arrived in Florida a Category 4 hurricane, by nightfall it was down to a Category 2 with winds of 105 mph (177 kph).

“Pray, pray for everybody in Florida,” Gov. Rick Scott said on “Fox News Sunday” as more than 160,000 people waited out Irma in shelters statewide.

There were no immediate confirmed reports of any deaths in Florida in addition to the 24 people killed during Irma’s destructive trek across the Caribbean.

In the low-lying Keys, where a storm surge of over 10 feet (3 meters) was recorded, appliances and furniture were seen floating away, and Monroe County spokeswoman Cammy Clark said the ocean waters were filled with navigation hazards, including sunken boats. But the full extent of Irma’s wrath there was not clear.

The county administrator, Roman Gastesi, said crews would begin house-to-house searches Monday morning to check on survivors. An airborne relief mission, led by C-130 military cargo planes, was set to bring emergency supplies to the Keys.

A Miami woman who went into labor was guided through delivery by phone when authorities couldn’t reach her because of high winds and street flooding. Firefighters later took her to the hospital.

Many streets were flooded in downtown Miami and other cities.

In downtown Miami, two of the two dozen construction cranes looming over the skyline collapsed in the wind. No injuries were reported.

An apparent tornado spun off by Irma destroyed six mobile homes in Palm Bay, midway up the Atlantic coast. Flooding was reported along Interstate 4, which cuts across Florida’s midsection.

Curfews were imposed in Miami, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and much of the rest of South Florida, and some arrests of violators were reported. Miami Beach barred outsiders from the island.

Fort Lauderdale police arrested nine people they said were caught on TV cameras looting sneakers and other items from a sporting goods store and a pawn shop during the hurricane.

More than 3.3 million homes and businesses across the state lost power, and utility officials said it will take weeks to restore electricity to everyone.

While Irma raked Florida’s Gulf Coast, forecasters warned that the entire state — including the Miami metropolitan area of 6 million people — was in danger because of the sheer size of the storm.

Irma makes landfall on Marco island

Nearly 7 million people in the Southeast were warned to evacuate, including 6.4 million in Florida alone.

About 30,000 people heeded orders to leave the Keys as the storm closed in, but an untold number refused, in part because to many storm-hardened residents, staying behind in the face of danger is a point of pride.

John Huston, who stayed in his Key Largo home, watched his yard flood even before the arrival of high tide.

“Small boats floating down the street next to furniture and refrigerators. Very noisy,” he said by text message. “Shingles are coming off.”

Irma made landfall just after 9 a.m. at Cudjoe Key, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) outside Key West. During the afternoon, it rounded Florida’s southwestern corner and hugged the coast closely as it pushed toward Naples, Sanibel, Fort Myers and, beyond that, Sarasota, at 14 mph (23 kph).

Forecasters warned some places could see a storm surge of up to 15 feet (5 meters) of water.

Gretchen Blee, who moved with her husband to Naples from Long Island, New York, after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 heavily damaged their beach home, took cover in a hotel room as Irma raged.

“I said let’s go and live the good life in paradise,” she said. “And here we are.”

Some 400 miles (640 kilometers) north of the Keys, people in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area started bracing for the onslaught. The Tampa Bay area, with a population of about 3 million, has not taken a direct hit from a major hurricane since 1921.

“I’ve been here with other storms, other hurricanes. But this one scares me,” Sally Carlson said as she snapped photos of the waves crashing against boats in St. Petersburg. “Let’s just say a prayer we hope we make it through.”

Along the Gulf Coast, two manatees became stranded after Hurricane Irma sucked the water out of Sarasota Bay, in Florida’s Manatee County. Several people posted photos of the mammals on Facebook amid reports rescuers were able to later drag them to deeper water.

After leaving Florida, a weakened Irma is expected to push into Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and beyond. A tropical storm warning was issued for the first time ever in Atlanta, some 200 miles (320 kilometers) from the sea.

President Donald Trump approved a disaster declaration for Florida, opening the way for federal aid.

“Once this system passes through, it’s going to be a race to save lives and sustain lives,” Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Irma at one time was the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the open Atlantic, a Category 5 with a peak wind speed of 185 mph (300 kph), and its approach set off alarm in Florida.

For days, forecasters had warned that Irma was taking dead aim at the Miami area and the rest of the state’s Atlantic coast. But then Irma made a more pronounced westward shift — the result of what meteorologists said was an atmospheric tug-of-war between weather systems that nudged Irma and determined when it made its crucial right turn into Florida.

Florida’s governor activated all 7,000 members of the Florida National Guard, and 10,000 guardsmen from elsewhere were being deployed.

___

Associated Press writers Seth Borenstein in Washington; Tamara Lush in St. Petersburg; Terry Spencer in Palm Beach County; Gary Fineout in Tallahassee; Terrance Harris and Claire Galofaro in Orlando; and Jason Dearen and David Fischer in Miami contributed to this report.

___

HURRICANE NEWSLETTER — Get the best of the AP’s all-formats reporting on Irma and Harvey in your inbox: http://apne.ws/ahYQGtb

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)