Irma approaching Tampa Bay area with hurricane-force winds; 5 dead, 3.5M without power

Gerald Herbert/AP

Gerald Herbert/AP

(Via ABC News)

Hurricane Irma is barreling up the Sunshine State, bringing heavy rainfall and powerful winds. The deadly hurricane, which is now a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of 100 miles per hour, was moving east of the Tampa metro area.

ABC News has confirmed a fifth storm-related fatality early Monday morning after a person was found dead in a home in Shark Key on Sunday. Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys, has reported two deaths. Hardee County has also reported two deaths so far and one person died in a single-vehicle crash in Orange County. At least 27 people were killed in the Caribbean.

Millions of Floridians are under orders to evacuate, and many are desperately seeking shelter from the storm. One Naples resident told ABC News she was turned away from two shelters before she and her 10-year-old son were finally accepted at one.

“We have a dog and there were not that many shelters that accepted dogs,” she said, adding, “We didn’t want to be that far away from our home.” While she and her son stay inside the shelter, her husband is hunkering down with their dog at home.

Irma made its second landfall on Marco Island along the southwest Florida coast this afternoon with 115 mph winds after battering the Florida Keys earlier Sunday.

Beyond the winds and rain that Irma is bringing, the storm surge is also expected to be devastating — in Naples, waters rose four feet in just 30 minutes.

From there, the storm lashed Miami with winds whipping around high-rise buildings at speeds approaching 100 mph, the National Weather Service said. Two cranes collapsed in the city and a 94 mph wind gust was recorded at Miami International Airport.

Along with the strong gusts of wind, water rushed through Miami’s streets. One resident said streets were flooded up to the newspaper stands and the winds were so powerful that windows cracked from the sheer force of the gusts.

The CEO of Miami International Airport said the airport “sustained significant water damage” with wind gusts of nearly 100 mph.

Roughly 3.5 million customers were without power in Florida late Sunday night, according to Rob Gould, the vice president of communications at Florida Power & Light.

Irma’s heavy rains and winds are expected to reach Georgia, too, and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal Sunday expanded his emergency declaration so all Georgia counties are under states of emergency.

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