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    Photos: Hurricane Irma thrashes Florida with destructive wind, storm surge from coast to coast

    By Bianca Barr Tunno, AccuWeather staff writer
    September 12, 2017, 5:47:47 AM EDT

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    Hurricane Irma gave Florida a one-two punch this weekend, slamming first into the Florida Keys Sunday morning as a powerful Category 4 storm, then again about 6.5 hours later as a Category 3 hurricane over Marco Island in southwestern Florida.

    Irma made landfall over Cudjoe Key in the lower Florida Keys at 9:10 a.m. Sunday with sustained winds of 130 mph, causing widespread destruction from wind and storm surge.

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    Monroe County Emergency Management officials said roads and runways in the Keys are being cleared, beginning Monday, to allow resources to arrive by air and land. Experts warn residents not to return during the preliminary cleanup efforts.

    “The Keys are basically connected by a series of bridges so officials will have to inspect all of those bridges to make sure that they are still structurally sound for people to actually be able to come back to the Keys,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Steve Travis,.


    Marco Island chevrolet palm trees

    A Chevrolet Bel Air classic car sits under a fallen palm tree from Hurricane Irma in Marco Island, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)


    Irma hit Marco Island as a Category 3 hurricane at 3:35 p.m. EDT Sunday. It whipped southwestern Florida with 115-mph sustained winds and gusts as high as 142 mph, recorded in Naples.

    The east coast of Florida also suffered wind and storm surge damage, even though cities like Miami and Fort Lauderdale were about 100 miles from the center of the storm, according to Travis. There were multiple reports of tornadoes across eastern Florida as well, which is unusual for this part of the United States, he said.

    “Florida doesn’t usually get the types of storms that cause tornadoes – supercell thunderstorms," Travis said. "It’s really only in a hurricane that this area would get these types of conditions to cause tornadoes.”

    In Jacksonville, officials expanded the mandatory evacuation Monday as the St. Johns River in the downtown area has already risen at least a foot above the previous high level crest, recorded in 1964 during Hurricane Dora.

    jacksonville flooding

    Severe flooding inundated many streets in the Jacksonville area on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (Photo/Joe Gaskin)


    Two law enforcement officers were in a fatal car accident in Hardee County on Sunday; a third person was in a single-vehicle accident Sunday in Orange County, Florida. On Monday, the mayor of Miami-Dade County confirmed a person died from carbon monoxide poisoning after running a generator inside a house without proper ventilation.

    As of 11:51 a.m. EDT Monday, Irma has left more than 6.5 million without power in Florida.

    This is the first year that two Atlantic Basin hurricanes have made landfall at Category 4 strength in the U.S. in one season since records began in 1851.

    Irma prompted the largest evacuation in U.S. history, taking 7 million people out of their homes. More than 30 percent of Florida's entire population were asked to evacuate.

    Jacksonville flood kayak

    Rescue workers, left, search a neighborhood for flood victims as a man on a kayak floats down the street after Hurricane Irma brought floodwaters to Jacksonville, Fla. Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

    Jacksonville backyard flooding

    Floodwaters inundate a backyard in Jacksonville, Fla. (Instagram photo/Nicole Lynn Bishop)

    Naples tree down debris

    Debris lines a street in Naples, Fla., in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. Florida Gov. Rick Scott said there's damage across the state caused by Hurricane Irma and it's still too dangerous for residents to go outside or return from evacuation. (AP Photo/Robert Ray)

    Marco Island roof gone

    A roof is strewn across a home's lawn as Rick Freedman checks his neighbor's damage from Hurricane Irma in Marco Island, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

    Marco Island palm trees ripped

    Palm trees stand ripped of their fronds in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Marco Island, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

    Marco Island trees down

    A family walks through a street littered with fallen branches from Hurricane Irma in Marco Island, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

    Old Tampa Bay low tide

    People walk out on to what is normally four feet of water in Old Tampa Bay, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. Hurricane Irma, and an unusual low tide pushed water out almost hundreds of yards. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

    Biscayne Bay waves over seawall Miami River

    Waves crash over a seawall at the mouth of the Miami River from Biscayne Bay, Fla., as Hurricane Irma passes by, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

    Bonita Springs Florida Flooding

    A fire truck drives through a flooded neighborhood, in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, in Bonita Springs, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

    Miami crane collapse

    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)

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