MIAMI (AP) — A monster Hurricane Irma roared into Florida with 130 mph winds Sunday for what could be a sustained assault on nearly the entire Sunshine State, flooding streets, knocking out power to more than 1.5 million homes and businesses and snapping a construction crane over the Miami skyline.
The nearly 400-mile-wide storm blew ashore in the morning in the Florida Keys and is expected to make a slow, ruinous march up the state’s west coast, hitting the heavily populated Tampa-St. Petersburg area by Monday morning.
Streets emptied across the bottom half of the Florida peninsula and some 127,000 people huddled in shelters.
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“Pray, pray for everybody in Florida,” Gov. Rick Scott said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Many streets were underwater in downtown Miami and in other cities. Roof damage and floating appliances and furniture were reported in the low-lying Keys, but with the storm still hitting around midday, the full extent of Irma’s wrath was not clear.
A Miami woman who went into labor was guided through delivery by phone when authorities couldn’t reach her in high winds and street flooding. Firefighters later took her to the hospital.
There were no immediate confirmed reports of any deaths in Florida, on top of 24 people killed during the storm’s destructive trek across the Caribbean.