President Trump and Cabinet briefed on Hurricanes Irma and Jose

President Trump and Cabinet briefed on Hurricanes Irma and Jose

Irma has already hit Key West, with winds approaching 130 miles an hour.

There may be more help coming; the Governor's Office notes that "the federal reimbursement percentage may increase as damage assessments are reported". Schools in the state planned to close Monday. A tropical storm warning was issued for the first time ever in Atlanta, where many schools canceled classes because of the storm.

Most Keys residents evacuated from the low-lying tourist archipelago, known for its fishing, scuba diving and boating, before Irma struck.

Governor Scott was quoted by CNN saying, "You can't survive these storm surges..."

"We have roads that are impassable", he said. "That would have been catastrophic".

Panama said it was distributing at least 90 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Saint Martin and Cuba, while Venezuela - itself beset by shortages amid a crippling economic crisis - sent 30 tonnes of food, drinking water and supplies to Cuba and other Caribbean islands.

On Saturday, Trump said he approved emergency declarations in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

"As we assess the situation, the appropriate resources will start being put on the island", Koon said. Jose is expected to graze by (by not directly strike) some of the very same eastern Caribbean islands devastated by Irma. Additional weakening is forecast.

Along the Gulf Coast, two manatees became stranded after Irma sucked water out of Sarasota Bay, in Florida's Manatee County. "IT IS TIME TO HUNKER DOWN", the NWS warned before the hurricane rammed into the tropical islands popular as a destination for fishing, boating and scuba diving.

Irma is uprooting trees and turning streets into rivers.

Forecasters said Irma could hit the Tampa-St.

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Originally, Miami was expected to bear the brunt of the storm once it hit Florida - but by Saturday morning, the storm's trajectory had shifted westward, with Tampa, the Gulf Coast, and other parts of South Florida (including the Florida Keys) in line for the worst effects.

The major concern among officials was the storm surge, which is like a sustained high tide that can cause devastating flooding, warning that it could reach as high as 15 feet in some areas.

Traffic patterns on U.S. 1 estimated about 10,000 people remained on the Florida Keys despite the mandatory evacuation.

In one of the largest U.S. evacuations, nearly 7 million people in the Southeast were warned to seek shelter elsewhere, including 6.4 million in Florida alone. And why are some much more destructive than others? The two are now at the hospital, it said. "Definitely not right now". But the full extent of Irma's wrath there was not clear. "You have to save your life". I looked at our traffic cameras around the state this morning. And an apparent tornado spun off by Irma destroyed six mobile homes in Palm Bay, midway up the Atlantic coast.

Cities such as Tampa and St Petersburg lie in the path of the storm.

"We think this could be the most challenging restoration in the history of the US", he said. "But this one scares me", Sally Carlson said as she snapped photos of the waves crashing against boats. Manatee County officials announced a curfew from 3 p.m. ET Sunday until 3 p.m. ET Monday.

Irma was at one time the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the open Atlantic, with a peak wind speed of 185 mph (300 kph) last week.

"We can rebuild your home, but we cannot rebuild your life", Florida Gov. Rick Scott said on CNN Wednesday.

Streets emptied across the bottom half of the Florida peninsula and some 127,000 people huddled in shelters.

There were no injuries reported.