National Hurricane Center says Irma is impacting all of South Florida

Hurricane warnings in northern Leeward Islands as Jose looms

The state's emergency management officials said the storm cut power to more than 6.5 million account holders across the state as of Monday afternoon.

"If Tampa stays on the east side of the eye, we expect the storm surge to be worse than if the eye moves inland and the west side of the storm hits it", he said.

The storm was earlier pummelling the area around the city of Fort Myers.

Hurricane force winds are expected to continue this morning across south Florida as Irma moves northward.

He pointed out that there are downed power lines and impassable roads throughout the state.

With wind speeds expected to increase to 30 to 40 miles per hour overnight and power outages likely to grow in the city, Reed urged residents to "store trash cans, outside materials and equipment" indoors.

Once a major Category 4 hurricane following in the path of its bigger sister, Irma, Jose is now a Category 2 storm with winds of 105 miles per hour.

The NHC said the storm "is still life-threatening with risky storm surge, wind and heavy rains".

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FPL's Chief Executive Eric Silagy told the LA Times the storm had caused the most damage the company had ever seen in its history.

President Donald Trump has signed a disaster declaration that should speed federal funding to damaged areas in Florida.

Irma has already devastated parts of the Caribbean, killing at least 28 people. People are starting to lose their power now. Tornadoes are possible in northeast Florida, and southeastern portions of Georgia and SC through tonight.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster on Sunday night issued a mandatory evacuation for some barrier islands, CNN reported.

'Potential impacts from the main surge event are also now unfolding across coastal Miami-Dade County, ' the National Weather Service said in a flash bulletin on Sunday.

State government offices are closed, as are public schools and state college and universities.

This is the first year on record that the continental United States has had two Category 4 hurricane landfalls in the same year.

St. Martin and St. Barts also escaped further damage from Jose, which reached Category 4 status at it veered north toward the mid-Atlantic, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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