Nearly 4.5 million without power in Florida

The potential paths of Hurricane Irma

The potential paths of Hurricane Irma

Mike Brennan of the National Hurricane Center said that even after the storm passes, the danger remains.

Irma's wind speeds have slowed to around 75 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center said in an update early Monday, although it cautioned that hurricane gusts and storm surges could still cause life-threatening conditions along Irma's path up the western Florida coast.

Images captured by a drone show damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma making landfall in Naples, Fla., Sept. 10, 2017.

Meanwhile, shelters were being opened in Tennessee, where forecasts called for Irma to arrive east of Memphis as a tropical depression by late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

The storm has now been downgraded to a category one, but forecasters have still warned of a danger to life with 100mph winds and torrential rain continuing to batter the Sunshine State.

A high wind watch was issued for parts of the Midlands, however according to the National Weather Service in Columbia, this should be treated as a tropical storm watch. That will quickly funnel the water back toward the coast and send water levels surging.

And now, another terrifying effect of the storm has come to light.

He added that the storm "is really closing in on Naples".

There's room for more, County Administrator Mike Merrill said, but he urged people to stay put for now.

Then, the storm will head toward Sarasota and Tampa, which can expect a five to eight-foot storm surge. Around 845,000 of those customers are located in Miami-Dade County.

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The governor said he was directing the Georgia Emergency Management Agency to activate the state's emergency operations plan due to the potential for dangers associated with excessive rainfall, strong winds, flooding, fallen trees and road closures. On Monday morning, almost 60 percent of the state woke up without power and saw Irma had flooded the streets, toppled trees and left tons of debris.

In Hialeah, Irma knocked out power at the regional sewage pump station.

"It is unsafe to be walking out there", according to a Tampa city official.

Images and video from southern Florida that were posted on social media on September 10, showed evidence of Irma's power - trees lashing violently back and forth in the wind, boats smashed into ruined docks, water spouts and tornados forming on the horizon, and waves of water sweeping across roads.

With a 3.25 day lifetime as a Category 5, Irma tied an unnamed 1932 Cuba hurricane for the longest lifetime as a Category 5.

The Department of Defense said in a statement Monday it has initiated response operations for the state of Florida while continuing such operations for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Powerful storm surges could also cause more devastating flooding across the state.

The storm also caused destruction when it swept across Georgia and SC on Monday. Scott flew over the Keys and says he saw a lot of flood damage and boats that had washed ashore.

With Irma's eye beyond the Florida Keys, officials are starting to inspect the damage there.

- A storm surge warning is discontinued for the Florida Keys and some parts of the Florida coast.

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