Hurricane Irma - the powerful shifting tropical storm that has forced more than 76,000 residents in Florida into emergency shelters, has arrived on the United States(US) mainland.
The storm came ashore in the Florida Keys earlier this morning packing winds in excess of 130-miles-an-hour. Though a weakened system, the storm still remains very dangerous causing major flooding, storm surges and power outages to more than 300,000 residences.
Crossing the Florida keys and tracking just west of the Florida peninsula, Irma will continue to impact the state when it re-traverses the state around St. Petersburg with high winds, a high storm surge and flooding on both west and east coasts.
As the system weakens as it continues to head inland, the aftermath of the natural event will be felt for a very long time with flooded streets, down power lines and trees. Clean up will not be an easy process as those of us who experienced Hurricane Andrew 25-years-ago, well know.
We continue to urge the greatest caution for all residents.