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According to the National Hurricane Center, the surge is part of the storm that poses "the greatest threat to life and property along the coast".

The eye of Category 3 Hurricane Irma crossed into mainland Florida near Naples on Sunday afternoon after striking the Florida Keys at Category 4 strength on Sunday morning. Miami had some flooding, but was spared the worst of the storm's wrath.

It is not known how the Florida citrus industry forecast will be impacted by the weather system, with the first official forecast of the season due on 12 October.

While the projected track showed Irma raking the state's Gulf Coast, forecasters warned that the entire Florida peninsula - including the Miami metropolitan area of 6 million people - was in extreme danger from the monstrous storm, nearly 400 miles (640 kilometers) wide. "Then you go into survival mode and start preparing", Martin said.

This is the first time it has been a tropical storm since August 31.

Hurricane Irma is making its way through the caribbean leaving destruction in its path. Hurricane Irma has left a huge trail of destruction on the British Virgin Islands.

MacDill airbase in Tampa, Florida, hosts around 18,000 military and civilian personnel, including Centcom that directs and oversees the military operations against ISIL in the Middle East.

Tropical Storm Irma, once a hurricane, is churning its way away from the Tampa Bay region.

Duncan said his family didn't evacuate from its Panama City home. The storm was moving north-northwest at 17 miles per hour.

"They normally don't unless it is going to be a Category 3 or higher", he said.

While the NASA-NOAA GOES East and GOES-16 satellites provide visible light images of the hurricane from above, Suomi NPP captures infrared views using its Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument. But the scale of these storms and the sequence in which they struck, all put together, is unprecedented.

"Florida will get through this", he said.

Hurricane Irma is expected to travel north early this week, with Georgia and SC in the path of impact.

This means impacts will be low for central North Carolina.