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Hurricane Harvey unleashed extensive damage in southern Texas and parts of Louisiana as it brought excessive rainfall and catastrophic flooding, killing at least 74 people.

Jones told reporters Sunday he believes more people evacuated Savannah and nearby communities for Irma than left ahead of Matthew a year ago.

Late Sunday, as the storm moved up Florida's west coast, officials said 28,000 people had taken refuge in 45 county shelters in Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa.

It can happen quickly and far from a storm's center, inundating areas that don't typically flood.

Irma hit Florida on Sunday morning as a risky Category 4 storm, the second highest level on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.

It gradually lost strength and weakened to a tropical storm by Monday morning as it headed toward Georgia, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said at 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT).

Irma's powerful winds first blow offshore, essentially sucking the water away from the coast. Florida Gov. Rick Scott flew over the hard-hit but isolated Keys on Monday and said he saw "devastation" that included boats washed ashore and mobile homes pummeled by the storm.

The National Weather Service has told TMZ that the surge of water in Miami has gotten as high as 6 feet in some parts.

- Strong winds and flash flooding are still a threat as Irma spins into north Florida and toward Georgia over the next 24 hours. And from there, it goes up the coast toward the Tampa, St. Pete area, which is on a very large bay - the Tampa Bay - which is a attractive area, but it's very susceptible to storm surge, one of the most susceptible areas to storm surge in Florida. With this northerly track, we'll still likely see some impacts here in Mid-Missouri. Now those winds are reaching into Broward, toppling trees and power lines.

"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. Perhaps the days, weeks, and months after Hurricane Katrina set a low bar, but these past few weeks have shown us the worst of times being met with the best of America.

Meanwhile, in Florida, officials were telling people to prepare to hunker down for at least 12 hours once Irma makes landfall.


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