Hurricane force winds are battering parts of Florida, as officials warn those who haven’t fled Irma, should stay inside and “hunker down.”
The hurricane has left at least 27 people dead across the Caribbean.
Hurricane Irma regained strength as it closed in on the Florida Keys early today, as forecasters monitored a crucial shift in its trajectory that could keep its ferocious eye off the southwest Florida coast and over warm gulf water.
The hurricane re-strengthened to category-four status with maximum sustained winds near 130 mph.
The US National Hurricane Centre said Irma was expected to gain a little more strength as it moved through the Straits of Florida and remain a powerful hurricane as it approached Florida.
Tens of thousands of people huddling in shelters watched for updates as the storm swung to the west, now potentially sparing Tampa as well as Miami the catastrophic head-on blow forecasters had been warning about for days.