CNN  — 

Hurricane Irma’s powerful center crossed the Florida Keys and tore into the state’s Gulf Coast, downing trees, hurling street signs and debris, and knocking the power out to hundreds of thousands of residents throughout the state.

The National Hurricane Center said Irma is expected to remain powerful as it heads north along the state’s Gulf Coast.

This is the scene in Florida as Irma blasts the state with torrential winds and rain.


Waves batter a seawall in Miami as Hurricane Irma arrives on September 10.

CNN’s Derek Van Dam, reporting from Miami Beach, said the roaring winds felt like a jet engine. “It just stings every time one of these gusts comes through.”

01:36 - Source: CNN
Reporter: Wind speeds like a jet engine

“Anyone who didn’t heed the evacuation orders here in Miami Beach, it’s time to bunker down,” Van Dam said. “It is time to take this storm seriously. Do not come back to the evacuation zones. It has just begun, and it’s going to get worse.”

A large tree blocks a road in Coral Gables, southwest of Miami, on September 10.

Irma hit South Florida on Sunday with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The Florida Keys

“If you own a power washer … imagine taking it in the face,” said CNN’s Bill Weir of the torrential rain in Key Largo, some 70 miles south of Miami.

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Reporter: It's like power-washing my face
The Blinckman family takes shelter in Key West as Hurricane Irma passes overhead on September 10.

A Key Largo restaurant and bar called Snappers – where Weir had interviewed people on Thursday as the storm was still days away – is now “completely gone,” Weir said.

Brad Whitworth of Texas is riding the storm out in Tavernier, Florida, just south of Key Largo. He told CNN he has homes there and in Houston, which was hit by heavy flooding from Hurricane Harvey two weeks ago.

Fort Lauderdale

Waves from Irma crash into the Anglins Fishing Pier in Fort Lauderdale on September 10.
An abandoned car is overtaken by storm surge as Hurricane Irma hits Fort Lauderdale on September 10.

Marco Island

Irma made a second landfall as a Category 3 storm at Marco Island, a city and barrier island off Florida’s southwest coast, on Sunday afternoon. In this picture, a dock has been submerged.

The police department shared this Sunday afternoon picture:


An American flag is torn by Irma's winds as it passes through Naples on September 10.

CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Ed Lavandera reported from Naples, where conditions quickly deteriorated as Irma got closer.

Evacuees in Naples watch from inside a shelter as Irma inches closer on September 10.

Dawn Hutchison-Finucan posted this video of fierce rain in Naples.

Others brace for impact

A local volunteer from Crossing Jordan Church helps other residents get ice from a vending machine on September 10 in Tampa.

In other parts of the state as of Sunday night, like Tampa, residents had yet to see the worst that Irma could offer.

Residents in area that had yet to see the worst either evacuated the area or prepared to shelter in place – including animals in Tampa’s Busch Gardens.

Some residents went out to find Irma had stolen the water away from the beach.

Facebook user Dylan Branscome shared this video of boats in Charlotte Harbor, north of Naples, sitting on their sides offshore.

“As the storm approaches from the south, places like Tampa and Port Charlotte are getting strong winds out of the northeast,” CNN meteorologist Judson Jones said of the phenomenon. “These winds are strong enough to push the water out of some of the shallow areas of the bays and harbors.”

PJ Pike checks on his and his friend's boats, sitting in mud after the water was pulled away from Fort Myers on September 10.

Jones added that once the wind direction shifts, the water will quickly return.

CNN’s Amanda Jackson, Donie O’Sullivan and Jason Hanna contributed to this report.