After days of terrifying predictions, Irma arrived slammed into the Florida Keys on Sunday morning and the Florida mainland Sunday afternoon. It entered the state as a Category 4 hurricane and left as a still-powerful tropical storm.

Irma had weakened Monday but continued to have remarkable reach, with high winds reaching more than 400 miles from the center.

While the northern part of the state is still experiencing the wind, rain and storm surge, the southern part has begun to assess the storm’s damage.

Irma wind field history as of 5 p.m.

on Monday, Sept. 11.

Hurricane-strength winds

Tropical storm

NC

TN

Charlotte

SC

Charleston

AL

GA

Savannah

Atlantic Ocean

Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm Monday.

FL

100 MILES

Tampa

Marco Island

Miami

Landfall at

3:35 p.m. Sunday

Cudjoe Key

Landfall at

9:10 a.m. Sunday

Gulf of Mexico

Irma wind field history as of 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 11.

Hurricane-strength winds

Tropical storm

TENNESSEE

NORTH

CAROLINA

Charlotte

Greenville

Columbia

Atlanta

SOUTH

CAROLINA

Macon

Charleston

Montgomery

Savannah

ALABAMA

GEORGIA

Brunswick

Atlantic

Ocean

Pensacola

Jacksonville

Tallahassee

Gainesville

Irma was downgraded to a topical storm Monday.

FLORIDA

100 MILES

Orlando

Tampa

Gulf of

Mexico

West Palm Beach

Fort Lauderdale

Marco Island

Landfall at 3:35 p.m. Sunday

Miami

Key West

Cudjoe Key

Landfall at 9:10 a.m. Sunday

Irma wind field history as of 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 11.

Hurricane-strength winds

Tropical storm

Knoxville

TENNESSEE

NORTH

CAROLINA

Charlotte

Greenville

Columbia

Atlanta

SOUTH

CAROLINA

Macon

Charleston

Montgomery

Savannah

ALABAMA

GEORGIA

Brunswick

Atlantic

Ocean

Pensacola

Jacksonville

Tallahassee

Gainesville

Palm Coast

Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm Monday.

FLORIDA

100 MILES

Orlando

Tampa

Gulf of

Mexico

Sarasota

West Palm Beach

Fort Lauderdale

Marco Island

Miami

Landfall at 3:35 p.m. Sunday

Key West

Cudjoe Key

Landfall at 9:10 a.m. Sunday

Share of households in each

wind field

Approx. 6 million people in 2.3 million

households

31.4%

67.1

100

100

79.4

60.5

40.7

Share of households in each wind field

Approx. 6 million people in 2.3 million households

31.4%

67.1

100

100

79.4

60.5

40.7

Share of households in each wind field

Approx. 6 million people in 2.3 million households

31.4%

67.1

100

100

79.4

60.5

40.7

Irma brought substantial winds across Florida and into Georgia and parts of Alabama and South Carolina, with some areas reporting gusts at nearly 90 miles per hour.

The National Weather Service uses an array of instruments, also known as the Automated Surface Observing System, to measure climate conditions, especially during a hurricane.

Hourly sustained wind speeds as Irma made landfall

Wind speed

Gust speed

Irma landfall

Gust max speed

Key West

75

75 mph

50

25

No data available

0

12 a.m.

Friday

12 a.m.

Sunday

12 a.m.

Tuesday

Miami

75 mph

71

50

25

0

12 a.m.

Friday

12 a.m.

Sunday

12 a.m.

Tuesday

Ft. Lauderdale

75 mph

50

45

25

0

12 a.m.

Friday

12 a.m.

Sunday

12 a.m.

Tuesday

Naples

76

75 mph

50

25

0

12 a.m.

Friday

12 a.m.

Sunday

12 a.m.

Tuesday

Ft. Myers

89

75 mph

50

25

0

12 a.m.

Friday

12 a.m.

Sunday

12 a.m.

Tuesday

Tampa

75 mph

63

50

25

0

12 a.m.

Friday

12 a.m.

Sunday

12 a.m.

Tuesday

Orlando

75 mph

70

50

25

0

12 a.m.

Friday

12 a.m.

Sunday

12 a.m.

Tuesday

Jacksonville

75 mph

71

50

25

0

12 a.m.

Friday

12 a.m.

Sunday

12 a.m.

Tuesday

Tallahassee

75 mph

51

50

25

0

12 a.m.

Friday

12 a.m.

Sunday

12 a.m.

Tuesday

Savannah

75 mph

60

50

25

0

12 a.m.

Friday

12 a.m.

Sunday

12 a.m.

Tuesday

Montgomery

75 mph

50

28

25

0

12 a.m.

Friday

12 a.m.

Sunday

12 a.m.

Tuesday

Atlanta

75 mph

59

50

25

0

12 a.m.

Friday

12 a.m.

Sunday

12 a.m.

Tuesday

Note: Gust speeds are recorded when the difference between peak and lull wind speeds is at least 10 mph.

Hourly sustained wind speeds as Irma made landfall

Wind speed

Gust speed

Irma landfall

Gust max speed

Ft. Myers

89

Key West

Miami

Ft. Lauderdale

Naples

Tampa

75

76

71

75 mph

63

50

45

25

No data available

0

12 a.m.

Friday

12 a.m.

Tuesday

North

South

Orlando

Jacksonville

Tallahassee

Savannah

Montgomery

Atlanta

71

70

75 mph

59

60

51

50

28

25

0

12 a.m.

Friday

12 a.m.

Tuesday

Note: Gust speeds are recorded when the difference between peak and lull wind speeds is at least 10 mph.

Hourly sustained wind speeds as Irma made landfall

Wind speed

Gust speed

Irma landfall

Gust max speed

89

Key West

Miami

Ft. Lauderdale

Naples

Ft. Myers

Tampa

75

76

75 mph

71

63

50

45

25

No data available

0

12 a.m.

Friday

12 a.m.

Sunday

12 a.m.

Tuesday

South

North

Orlando

Jacksonville

Tallahassee

Savannah

Montgomery

Atlanta

70

71

75 mph

59

60

51

50

28

25

0

12 a.m.

Friday

12 a.m.

Sunday

12 a.m.

Tuesday

Note: Gust speeds are recorded when the difference between peak and lull wind speeds is at least 10 mph.

But with enough force, those instruments can fail.

In Key West, the city’s monitoring system at the Key West International Airport reported an outage shortly before Irma made landfall at about 9 a.m. Sunday, said Susan Buchanan, director of public affairs for the National Weather Service, in an email.

The airport’s last wind reading before failing: 75 mph gusts.

Buchanan said the weather service also received word about a system outage at Ft. Lauderdale International Airport, which recorded 45 mph gusts before it failed.

As Irma moved north, so did power outages. By Monday morning, more than 6 million households in Florida had lost power. As restoration began in some place, others, such as areas of Georgia, went dark.

Storm surge and its impact

Sept. 10, 2017 | A car sits abandoned in storm surge along North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sept. 9, 2017 | Water rises up to a sidewalk by the Miami river as Hurricane Irma arrives at south Florida, in downtown Miami. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

As Irma approached, the low pressure of the storm system and force of the winds pulled water away from shorelines.

Next came a large storm surge that pushed even more water back in, causing tides to rise several feet above normal as the storm made landfall.

1 foot above expected tide
Path of hurricane Approximate location
Note: Water levels are based off of preliminary NOAA data and show the difference between the observed water level to the predicted tide. Levels are shown relative to the mean higher high water, an average of high water heights over a 19-year period measured by NOAA.

Water levels above predicted tide

 

The disappearing waters were a surprising sight to many. In some locations residents ventured out on shoreline that is normally covered by 4 to 5 feet of water. In Manatee County the receding waters stranded two manatees.

The National Hurricane Center posted a storm surge warning from Florida up to South Carolina, estimating that water levels rise more than 15 feet in some areas.

Tornado watches and warnings also blanketed Florida as Irma’s wind bands spawned other storms.

Potential storm surge flooding (feet above ground)

More than 9

1 to 3

3 to 6

6 to 9

Intertidal and wetland areas, areas that

routinely flood during typical high tides

Orlando

Atlantic

Ocean

Tampa

St. Petersburg

Sarasota

Port Charlotte

Fort Myers

Naples

Big Cypress

Nat’l

Preserve

Miami

Marco

Island

Everglades

Nat’l Park

Gulf of

Mexico

Key West

Cudjoe Key

10 MILES

Naples

75

Gulf of

Mexico

10 MILES

Fort

Myers

Cape

Coral

75

Port

Charlotte

75

Charlotte

Harbor

10 MILES

Tampa

St. Petersburg

75

Tampa

Bay

10 MILES

Orlando

Atlantic

Ocean

Tampa

St. Petersburg

Sarasota

Port Charlotte

Fort Myers

Cape Coral

Gulf of Mexico

Fort

Lauderdale

Naples

Big Cypress

Nat’l

Preserve

Miami

Marco

Island

Potential storm surge flooding

(feet above ground)

1 to 3

Everglades

Nat’l Park

3 to 6

6 to 9

More than 9

Intertidal and

wetland areas,

areas that routinely

flood during high tides

Key West

Cudjoe Key

50 MILES

10 MILES

10 MILES

Fort

Myers

Cape

Coral

Naples

75

75

Gulf of

Mexico

Tampa

Port

Charlotte

75

St. Petersburg

Charlotte

Harbor

75

Tampa

Bay

10 MILES

10 MILES

Orlando

Tampa

Atlantic

Ocean

St. Petersburg

Sarasota

Port Charlotte

Fort Myers

Cape Coral

Gulf of Mexico

Fort Lauderdale

Naples

Big Cypress

Nat’l

Preserve

Marco

Island

Miami

Potential storm surge flooding

(feet above ground)

1 to 3

Everglades

Nat’l Park

3 to 6

6 to 9

More than 9

Intertidal and wetland areas,

areas that routinely flood

during typical high tides

50 MILES

Key West

Cudjoe Key

10 MILES

10 MILES

Tampa

Port

Charlotte

Fort

Myers

Cape

Coral

Naples

75

75

75

St. Petersburg

Charlotte

Harbor

75

Tampa

Bay

Gulf of

Mexico

10 MILES

10 MILES

The surge was particularly threatening to vulnerable, low-lying cities such as Tampa, and the area seemed ill-prepared for it. A World Bank study called Tampa Bay one of the 10 areas in the world most at risk of damaging and costly flooding.

Evacuations ordered

As the storm approached, more than 6 million people in Florida were ordered to evacuate.

In Miami-Dade County, authorities issued the county’s first major, mandatory evacuation in more than a decade. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal also issued mandatory evacuations in the state’s coastal counties, including the areas east of Interstate 95.

Approximate mandatory evacuation zones as of 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10. Evacuation routes are shown in white.

Savannah

GEORGIA

341

341

75

Atlantic

Ocean

10

Tallahassee

10

95

FLORIDA

Gulf of

Mexico

75

Orlando

Tampa

95

100 MILES

27

Fort Myers

Miami

41

1

Key West

Approximate mandatory evacuation zones

as of 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10.

Evacuation routes are shown in white.

GEORGIA

Savannah

341

341

Atlantic

Ocean

75

10

Tallahassee

Pensacola

Jacksonville

10

Gainesville

95

Palm Coast

75

4

Orlando

75

Gulf of Mexico

4

Tampa

St. Petersburg

95

FLORIDA

Lake

Okeechobee

Fort Myers

27

75

Miami

41

100 MILES

1

Key West

Approximate mandatory evacuation zones as of 3:30 p.m.

on Sunday, Sept. 10. Evacuation routes are shown in white.

Atlantic

Ocean

Savannah

GEORGIA

341

75

10

Tallahassee

Pensacola

Jacksonville

10

95

Gainesville

Palm Coast

75

FLORIDA

Gulf of Mexico

4

Orlando

75

100 MILES

4

Tampa

Counties on Florida’s west coast ordered mandatory evacuations as Irma’s eye is poised go up the coast.

St. Petersburg

95

27

Lake

Okeechobee

West Palm

Beach

Fort Myers

27

75

Miami

41

Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys, issued a mandatory evacuation for all visitors and residents. There will be no shelters open in the county.

1

Key West

Additional low-lying areas and those in mobile homes may also be or have been under mandatory evacuation orders. As of Sunday, more than 114,000 people filled more than 500 shelters in Florida.

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Bonnie Berkowitz, John Muyskens, Tim Meko, Armand Emamdjomeh, Denise Lu, Aaron Steckelberg, Chiqui Esteban, Gabriel Florit, Ted Mellnik and Chris Alcantara contributed to this report.

About this story

Hurricane path forecast, coastal warning/watches, satellite imagery, tide gauge and wind data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Population data from the U.S. Census. Evacuation zones from the Florida Division of Emergency Management. Evacuation information from county and state websites. Impervious surfaces dataset from the U.S. Geological Service.

Originally published Sept. 10, 2017.

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