Hurricane Irma has brought torrential rain, flooding, strong winds and power outages to Florida and it's not done yet.
"In recorded history, there have been only three Category 5 hurricanes to make landfall on the U.S.", Nitz said. Winds will gust between 30-40 miles per hour, though the higher elevation areas to the east and the far southeast portion of the WBRC First Alert viewing area could experience wind gusts up to 45-50 miles per hour.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 km). Ft. In the Atlanta metro area, about 496 stations, or 12.2 per cent, were out of gasoline, according to information service Gas Buddy.
They warned residents not to venture outside and many Florida cities have been forced to evacuate and issue curfews.
The center of Irma is headed toward the Keys and has sustained winds of 120 miles per hour (193.11 kph).
The storm is continuing to "slowly weaken while moving into southern Georgia", the weather agency stated at 2 p.m. Monday.
But through Sunday, the focus narrowed to the peninsula's western flank - particularly St Petersburg - with warnings that even if destructive winds didn't cripple communities, rising water associated with catastrophic storm surges and torrential rain could be just as destructive.
He said the Navy dispatched the USS Iwo Jima, USS New York and the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln to help with search and rescue and other relief efforts.
Hillsborough and Pinellas counties can see the same wind speeds with a greater risk for tornadoes in the northeast portion of Hillsborough County.
Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia said, "Stay in place, make sure it's a secure place, as much as you can do so. Very noisy", he said by text message. It is all about keeping you and your family safe.
"How are we going to survive from here?" asked Gwen Bush, who waded through thigh-deep floodwaters outside her central Florida home to reach National Guard rescuers and get a ride to a shelter. In Estero, just up the coast from Naples, palm trees began to blow sideways.
He told Willis that a hotel manager told him his five rooms were sold out from under him to a national bank that needed 75 rooms for its employees.
The first was over the Florida Keys, and the second, over Marco Island, left the island without water and power, authorities said.
"I'm hoping Georgia doesn't get hit bad enough that we can keep ground service going", said Dr. Dennis Ashley, director of trauma services for Medical Center, Navicent Health.
"This storm is no joke for the Florida Keys", Local 10's Luke Dorris said.
Many streets were flooded in downtown Miami and other cities.