Hurricane Irma live updates: Deaths feared in Keys, 3rd construction crane falls

2017-09-11 | The Miami Herald

Sept. 10--After long days of anxious preparations and waiting, Hurricane Irma has landed in South Florida, still a dangerous Category 4 storm even though Miami-Dade and Broward counties will be spared the worst. The Florida Keys, however, will not be so lucky: Irma's eye made landfall on Cudjoe Key at 9:10 a.m., and the storm is expected to move northwest up Florida's Gulf Coast. More than a million households and businesses have no power in South Florida, and dangerous flooding and tornadoes are possible.

Stay with the Miami Herald for all the latest news on Sunday.

MIA to close Monday

9:30 p.m.: Miami International Airport will be closed Monday, it said Sunday, with limited schedules to begin Tuesday.

Airport Director Emilio González tweeted that MIA, which endured gusts of nearly 100 mph, "sustained significant water damage throughout."

Hundreds of flights were canceled Saturday and Sunday. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, which closed ahead of Irma, has yet to announce its reopening.

-- PATRICIA MAZZEI

Irma deaths feared in Middle and Upper Keys

9:13 p.m.: KEY WEST -- As the waves and winds began easing Sunday, residents of Old Town emerged not knowing exactly what to expect from the most powerful hurricane to strike the Florida Keys in more than a half century.

But all in all, many in Key West seemed relieved that the damage from a Category 4 Irma was not much, much worse. "It's not as bad as we thought," said Robert Phillips. "It's just trees and foliage and cars."

That wasn't the case across the rest of the 110-mile island chain. In the Middle and Upper Keys -- on the more savage right side of Irma's 130-mph winds -- the damage and storm surge appeared far more severe. Monroe County emergency managers hinted that they feared there could be fatalities. Emergency Management Director Martin Senterfitt, calling the destruction a looming "humanitarian crisis," said a huge airborne relief mission mounted by the Air Force and Air National Guard was already in the works.

Read more about the situation in the Keys here.

-- DAVID OVALLE AND DAVID GOODHUE

2.2 million FPL customers in the dark

9 p.m.: Nearly 2.2 million homes and businesses in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties were without power Sunday evening after Hurricane Irma assaulted the lower Florida Keys and thrashed South Florida. And for those home and business owners, the wait could be several days or longer for electricity to be restored, said executives with Florida Power Light, the state's largest utility.

By evening, Irma cut the power to 3 million FPL customers across the state and more outages were expected as the storm was tracking up the west coast of Florida, FPL executives said Sunday at the company's command center.

Read more about the power outages here.

-- RENE RODRIGUEZ

Third crane accident reported

9 p.m.: A third construction crane has fallen victim to Irma, this time at an oceanfront Fort Lauderdale condo.

Read more about the crane accidents here.

-- NICHOLAS NEHAMAS AND CARLI TEPROFF

Much of North Bay Village is flooded

8:35 p.m.: One of North Bay Village's three islands is completely flooded, according to the city, which urged residents to stay away from dangerous roads.

North Island "is completely flooded, and the streets are not passable," said Evelyn Herbello, the village's executive assistant and emergency manager.

On Harbor Island, East Drive is passable. West Drive is not.

On Treasure Island, South Treasure Drive "is completely flooded," Herbello said, as are Adventura and Hispaniola avenues. East Treasure Drive is partially flooded but passable.

Herbello asked all of the village's general employees, with the exception of those who have been notified, not to come to work Monday. The village has had trouble reaching them, and residents, directly.

--PATRICIA MAZZEI

Broward deputy shoots teenager in early Sunday burglary

8:09 p.m.: A Broward Sheriff's Deputy shot a 17-year-old early Sunday morning and another teen was in custody after reports of a burglary inside a Weston home as Hurricane Irma moved through.

According to BSO, homeowners, who had left town, got an alert at about 3 a.m. from their surveillance system showing two burglars inside their home on the 2500 Block of Monterey Court.

When deputies arrived they found two teens inside, according to BSO.

At least one deputy opened fire on Dylan Lemon, 17, injuring him, BSO said. It was not clear the severity of his injuries.

Jean Coello, 17, was arrested. Both teens face charges including burglary and grand theft.

No deputies were injured. The shooting is now being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

-- CARLI TEPROFF

Miami prepares cleanup: 'Yeah, we've got our hands full'

8 p.m.: In Miami, where Hurricane Irma littered streets impassible with felled trees and flood waters, Miami's cleanup crews and search and rescue teams are preparing to begin the process of getting things back to normal.

The storm winds snapped trees in half around downtown and Brickell, collapsed high-rise construction cranes, giving the city's "cut teams" a heavy workload in the days ahead. In Brickell, Miami's financial district south of the Miami River, Irma's storm surge pushed as much as four feet of water onto the easternmost streets, said Assistant Fire Chief Pete Gomez.

"We're anticipating hurricane-force winds are dying down now. We're anticipating tropical storm force winds by 6 in the morning should be diminished," said Gomez, head of emergency management for the city. "We got trees on I-95. Biscayne Boulevard is a mess. Brickell Avenue is flooded with water, two and a half, three feet ... Our message to everybody is: look, stay indoors, or stay out of those areas until you need to go there."

The city will send out teams to look for damage and work with crews whose job is to clear roadways with saws and heavy machinery.

"At the same time, we're also going to have on-duty units canvassing areas and doing welfare checks, making sure people are OK. We're going to try and concentrate on the ALFs. There's like 115 in the city," Gomez said. "In the meantime we still have to answer calls. That's not going to stop. Yeah, we've got our hands full."

-- DAVID SMILEY

Irma damages North Miami Beach bridge; cops save trapped woman, infant

7:46 p.m.: Irma damaged bridge in a North Miami Beach residential neighborhood, police said Sunday.

The bridge at Northeast 15th Ave. and 171st St. will have to be inspected, according to Maj. Richard Rand, who said the Eastern Shores neighborhood is under 5-7 feet of water. Police plan to survey the area with an emergency vehicle soon.

Earlier Sunday, cops responded to a 4:30 p.m. call of a single mother and her 4-month-old infant trapped in a house. An emergency response team rescued them.

The bridge at NE 15th ave and 171st street in a residential neighborhood is damaged and will have to be inspected.

5-7 feet of water in eastern shores neighborhood.

-- JEFF KLEINMAN

Gables revises curfew to match county's

7:35 p.m.: Coral Gables revised its curfew to match the county's 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. declaration and made it citywide.

City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark urged residents that were ordered to evacuate and those in inland areas to be patient and safe even as Irma traveled north and conditions improved.

"More people are injured pre-storm putting up shutters and post-storm when they start assessing their properties than during the storm," Swanson-Rivenbark said.

The city plans to notify those evacuated residents through local news and social media about when its safe for them to come home.

And amid several reports of massive, uprooted trees blocking roads and storm surge in areas like Gables by the Sea, the city plans to get a response team -- armed with chainsaws --out by sunrise.

"Their job is to establish a path and then later there will be a company that will come and take the debris away," Swanson-Rivenbark said.

"As soon as safely possible, we will be out there."

-- LANCE DIXON

Davie issues boil-water order

5:55 p.m.: Davie ordered residents Sunday to boil water as a precaution following Irma, due to service interruptions that may have resulted in unclean water.

The town advises using boiled water for drinking, cooking, making ice, brushing teeth or washing dishes. A rolling, minute-long boil is sufficient. Tap water can also be disinfected by adding eight drops of unscented household bleach to each gallon of water, then mixing and allowing to stand for at least 30 minutes.

-- PATRICIA MAZZEI

Baptist Health shelters more than 6,000 people

5:30 p.m.: At Baptist Health South Florida's five Miami-Dade hospitals, more than 6,000 people -- including 1,400 patients, about 3,000 doctors and nurses, and their 3,000 family members -- were sheltered from Irma.

"It's the only way you can do it. You've got to bring everybody in," said Wayne Brackin, chief operating officer for Baptist Health, one of Miami-Dade's largest employers with about 10,000 workers.

Brackin said patients staying at the health system's five Miami-Dade facilities -- Baptist Hospital Miami, South Miami Hospital, Doctor's Hospital, Homestead Hospital and West Kendall Baptist -- include pregnant women, critical needs patients and others.

About 20 of patients were transferred to Miami-Dade from Baptist Health's facilities in the Florida Keys, Mariner's Hospital and Fishermen's Community Hospital.

"By and large, the hospitals are completely full or very close to capacity," Brackin said, "and the only real type of emergencies we're seeing right now are genuine, actual emergencies, cardiac events, emergency C-sections, this sort of thing.

Storm-related injuries will likely come later. "That's when you get the people out trying to recover and do the usual thing," he said, "fall of the ladder, or cut themselves with a chainsaw."

-- DANIEL CHANG

In Homestead shelter, officials can't stop evacuees from heading home during storm lull

5:20 p.m.: Officials at South Dade Middle School tried in vain to keep families from leaving Sunday afternoon.

"It's not safe!" school officials, Miami-Dade police and National Guard repeated over and over again in Spanish and English.

But at around 4:30 p.m., families were lugging suitcases and blankets downstairs and waiting by the front gate with their belongings. It was not immediately clear how many people had decided to leave the shelter. One police officer said she thought at least 150 had left through the gates in the late afternoon and early evening.

One family pulled their white sedan to the front gate and began loading coolers, suitcases and even a baby stroller inside.

The shelter officials warned them about the dangers and the 7 p.m. curfew. They said

Miami-Dade police had driven around the perimeter of the school-turned-shelter and found the nearby roads impassible because of fallen branches.

Other families leaned over the upstairs walkways to watch.

"If you're not leaving we need you to stay inside!" a National Guardsmen shouted as winds howled through the school's interior courtyard.

Only one family seemed to be convinced by the officials' pleas. After waiting by the front entrance for a few minutes, a father and his special needs teenage son went back up the stairs carrying their suitcases.

Asked why his family had decided to leave, one father said in Spanish, "We've gotten tired of being here."

"In here you're safer than out there," a National Guardsmen pleaded with one family as they walked out the front gates with trash bags filled with belongings held over their heads.

One man hurried out with a laundry basket filled with possessions strapped to his back.

Unable to force the evacuees to stay, the shelter officials wished them good luck. "Suerte!" a National Guardsmen told one family as they pushed a baby stroller out of the shelter.

A young boy left through the front gates with his mother and relatives. A few minutes later, as his family stood outside surveying the area, he poked his head back into the school.

"It's too windy," he told the police officers stationed at the entrance.

He hovered by the front gate. A few minutes later his family walked back inside the shelter.

-- KYRA GURNEY

On the day Hurricane Irma arrived in Miami, so did a baby that was almost born in a fire truck.

5:10 p.m.: Shortly before 7 a.m. Sunday, a woman called for a Miami-Dade ambulance because she had gone into labor. Among the many problems with that request on this day: winds gusting to hurricane strength, idling the county's ambulance fleet. So a rescue captain dispatched a fire truck, instead.

Miami-Dade didn't release many details of the incident, except to say the truck raced to a northern Miami-Dade hospital where the woman did in fact give birth during the storm.

-- DOUGLAS HANKS

Trump signs federal disaster declaration

5:00 p.m.: President Donald J. Trump on Sunday approved a major disaster declaration for Hurricane Irma in Florida, hours after Gov. Rick Scott requested it.

In a week in which the president and governor spoke several times by phone, the governor's office said the disaster declaration will authorize federal funding to flow to areas affected by the storm and will reimburse cities and counties and the state for costs of response and recovery.

The major disaster declaration authorizes 100 percent federal reimbursement for 30 days in all counties for emergency protective measures, such as the costs of running emergency operation centers, hurricane shelters and related expenses. After the initial 30-day period, the federal government will reimburse 75 percent of those costs, including counties' costs for debris removal.

The declaration also authorizes direct federal financial aid to nine counties: Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pinellas and Sarasota.

The president's declaration is HERE

-- STEVE BOUSQUET, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Miami roof blown off in Edgewater

(Note: the video caption incorrectly states the address of the injured building.)

3:45 p.m.: At Miami's Emergency Operations Center in downtown, city employees working the phones and taking account of downed power lines, felled trees and other hazards have been on the lookout for bogus reports. But one extreme video circulating on social media has turned out to be completely authentic.

The video, which shows a roof peeling backward and falling onto the building next door, was confirmed around 3:15 p.m. by Fire Chief Joseph Zahralban.

He said city officials authenticated the video, which was taken in the area of Northeast 26th Street and 5th Avenue, by using public records, Google and other "data points" available in the office to confirm the image and the location. Winds and conditions remain too intense for the city to send out rescue and reconnaissance crews in many instances.

"This house, at that address, does in fact have that roof, the same three windows and you see the same car in the driveway with the writing on the back window. So, without going out, without putting anyone at risk, we were able to verify that, yes, this is in fact the house in question," Zahralban said.

"If you compare the picture in the video, which shows the roof peeling off in one direction as a whole, it tells you that it had no choice but to land on the house next to it. What does that tells us? As soon as we start sending recon teams out the door this is one of the first structures that needs to be checked. Why? One structure had a roof come off. The other structure had a roof land on it."

-- DAVID SMILEY

Flooding of Vizcaya

3:35 p.m. As Hurricane Irma puts low-lying areas of Coconut Grove underwater, the village's top tourist attraction has begun to flood.

The county-owned Vizcaya Museum and Gardens has a flooded basement, spokesman Luis Espinoza said. He did not have details, and said museum staff aren't able to go in and asses the damage until the storm clears. The 1914 mansion sits at 3251 South Miami Ave., and faces Biscayne Bay.

Espinoza said the storm surge from Irma put the waterfront attraction at risk, but he could not confirm the flooding was by seawater and not rain. Miami-Dade is in the process of turning over operations of the museum to a non-profit, but will retain ownership of the property and its collections.

"The good news is there are no art collections stored" in the basement, Espinoza said.

No access to Miami Beach

3:30 p.m.: As Miami Beach took tropical storm force winds with hurricane level gusts Sunday afternoon from Irma, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine announced "access to Miami Beach will be prohibited until all the roads are clear."

He asked residents who evacuated to stay away until city officials give the all clear.

Storm debris blocked roads and dropped power lines around Miami Beach from Saturday and Sunday. The city halted Fire Rescue services at 7:45 a.m. Sunday and Levine said it won't resume until sustained winds are under 40 mph.

That means the condo and 20th Street Publix fire alarms that Irma blew into blaring Sunday might keep ringing around the bay side of Miami Beach for a while.

Levine also continued the city's 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew for Sunday night and Monday night. He expects the city to get a four to five-foot storm surge from getting sideswiped by Hurricane Irma.

-- DAVID J. NEAL

Relief mission on way to the Keys

3:20 p.m.: A huge airborne relief mission is en route to the Keys to help people impacted by the tragic devastation caused when the eye of Hurricane Irma blasted through the Lower Florida Keys at daybreak Sunday morning.

Monroe County Emergency Management Director Martin Senterfitt called the destruction caused by Irma, a massive Category 4 storm when it impacted the Keys, a "humanitarian crisis."

Among the services coming to the Keys are "disaster mortuary teams," he told the conference call.

United States Air Force special operations pilots are testing flights with C-130 cargo planes around the massive storm from Mississippi to the Keys in anticipation of the mission, which will include Air National Guard flights of more C-130s and helicopters following the fixed-wing flights.

"The help is on its way," Senterfitt said during a conference call Sunday afternoon.

"We're going to get more aid than we've ever seen in our lives," Senterfitt said.

Supplies and personnel could be coming in by air to Monroe County by early Monday morning, Senterfitt said.

The first arrival will be at Florida Keys Marathon Airport, which can handle about two C-130 planes at a time. The plan, said Senterfitt, is to have two C-130s land every two hours on the airfield there.

-- DAVID GOODHUE

Governor's Naples house at risk

3:20 p.m.: Florida Gov. Rick Scott owns a waterfront mansion in Naples that he says should see 10 to 15 feet of storm surge because of Hurricane Irma.

"So, we'll see. I just can't imagine it's not going to have water all through the whole house," he told reporters Sunday afternoon when he was asked about the status of the home as Irma moves up Florida's west coast.

But he added, "It's nothing new... you can replace a house."

"I was more worried -- my daughter just had two little babies. She's further inland, and so I was more worried about her," he said.

His daughter Allison, her husband Pierre and their five sons, including two-week-old twin boys had evacuated to the governor's mansion in Tallahassee on Friday to join Scott and his wife, Ann.

But now with the capital city poised to be in Irma's path on Monday, Scott told reporters they didn't stick around.

"They actually went to D.C. today," he said. "They had come up here but it doesn't make sense -- when it looks like we might be hit up here -- for them to be here, especially with five little boys."

-- KRISTEN M. CLARK

New curfew in Miami-Dade

3 p.m.: Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Sunday announced a 7 p.m.-to- 7 a.m. curfew, ordering everyone off the streets in a county where 75 percent of the buildings lack electricity in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

A string of Miami-Dade cities imposed pre-Irma curfews on Saturday, but Gimenez resisted the step, even as Broward ordered a countywide curfew to the north ahead of the storm.

A Gimenez spokesman said the Miami-Dade curfew allows cities to impose tougher curfews within their jurisdictions, but must comply with the county's 7 p.m. cut-off for being out on the streets and keep people inside until at least 7 a.m.

With the addition of the county curfew, residents now have a patchwork of movement restrictions to track. In Homestead, that city's curfew is set to expire 6 a.m. Monday, but the county's curfew lasts one more hour. In North Miami Beach, the curfew lasts until 10 a.m. on Monday, keeping the city off limits for an extra three hours after the county's all-clear time for the morning.

Gimenez said he didn't see the need for a countywide curfew before Irma arrived, saying he wanted to wait until power outages and storm damage left roads unpassable and vacant storefronts vulnerable to looting.

Miami and Miami Beach imposed the county's first curfews Saturday after Gimenez's own evacuation order for more than 600,000 residents left entire neighborhoods empty. Gimenez said he could see why cities with large areas evacuated would need earlier curfews than would the county at large.

A county release that followed Gimenez's announcement instructed residents "to remain inside with all doors and windows closed."

Access to emergency center

2:15 p.m.: Just before 2 p.m., Gov. Rick Scott made another brief appearance in the state Emergency Operations Center.

He spoke for a couple minutes with state meteorologist Amy Godsey, while reporters were invited to observe and take photos and video.

Scott then talked with reporters casually for a few minutes more, before he had to leave the room for a conference call regarding the hurricane.

It was the first time state and local reporters have been allowed into the main room of the state Emergency Operations Center since it was activated for Hurricane Irma -- save for occasional individual interviews with key personnel that are coordinated through the governor's press team.

-- KRISTEN M. CLARK

Irma down to a Category 3

2 p.m.: Hurricane Irma is moving faster with slower wind speeds and should make landfall in Naples in a few hours.

In the 2 p.m. advisory, National Hurricane forecasters said the storm is now moving north at a faster pace --12 mph rather than an earlier rate of 9 mph -- and maximum sustained winds dropped to 120 mph.

Predictions show Irma moving north-northwest even faster later today, sending the eye of the hurricane ashore later this evening, near Naples. Forecasters expect the storm to slow rapidly once it is over land and wear itself out over the southeastern U.S. in the next few days.

-- ALEX HARRIS

Power could be out for weeks

1:45 p.m.: Elaine Duke, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, told the Miami Herald she expects power could be out for weeks across Florida after Hurricane Irma passes.

"The major area of concern with this storm is the wind damage, especially with the electrical system," Duke said by phone from Washington D.C.

Power outages also complicate relief efforts, Duke noted.

She and other cabinet members met with President Donald Trump at Camp David on Saturday to discuss the storm.

"He told the cabinet this is our number one priority," Duke said.

As he did after Hurricane Harvery, Trump is expected to visit Florida following the storm.

-- NICHOLAS NEHAMAS

Don't flush the toilet in Hialeah

1:40 p.m.: A sewage pump in Hialeah has lost all power as the electrical grid fails across South Florida.

The areas affected are north of Northwest 138th Street to Northwest 154th Street and east of Northwest 97th Avenue to Interstate-75, as well as the area north of West 52nd Street to Northwest 138th St.

"Residents in the affected area are asked to avoid the unnecessary generation of wastewater and be cognizant that some may experience sewer backups until the repairs are completed," a statement from the city said. In other words, use the toilet -- but don't flush.

Public works crews will attempt to repair the pump at 3250 W. 80th St.

-- NICHOLAS NEHAMAS

More power outages across South Florida

1:35 p.m.: Latest tri-county report is 227,050 outages in Palm Beach County, 488,650 in Broward and 726,610 in Miami-Dade. That's roughly half the customers in Dade and Broward.

-- SUSAN SALISBURY, PALM BEACH POST

Irma wobble means more wind for Miami

1:30 p.m.: Irma has wobbled, meaning southeast Florida could face fiercer winds longer.

In their 11 a.m. advisory, National Hurricane Center forecasters said over the last few hours, the storm swerved slightly to the north. That means winds and storm surge that began hammering Miami-Dade before dawn could continue.

Mark DeMaria, deputy acting director of the National Hurricane Center, said there have numerous reports of hurricane force winds throughout Miami-Dade most of the morning and "not it's spreading into Broward."

-- CHARLES RABIN AND JENNY STALETOVICH

Crane collapses in downtown Miami

1:15 p.m.: The boom of a crane at an under-construction apartment building in downtown Miami bent and collapsed in Hurricane Irma's heavy winds around 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

Two Miami firefighters watched the boom at 300 Biscayne Blvd. snap, sending bricks toppling to the ground, just down the street from Miami's iconic Freedom Tower. Downtown Miami --normally a bustling hub of tourists, residents and office workers -- was empty because of the storm. No injuries were immediately reported.

The tower, which holds 464 rental apartments, is named Vice.

-- DAVID SMILEY, JOEY FLECHAS AND NICHOLAS NEHAMAS

Hospitals stay open for Irma, but few emergencies reported

1:00 p.m.: South Florida hospitals kept their emergency rooms open overnight and during the storm Sunday, with most reporting just a trickle of patients, including a few expectant mothers who delivered babies.

As Irma moved north and closer to Florida, the number of hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities evacuating their buildings increased from 340 on Saturday to 415 on Sunday, including 30 hospitals and 59 nursing homes.

Most of the facilities evacuating for Irma were assisted living facilities housing elderly and disabled patients. As many as 268 had evacuated for Irma, the Florida Department of Health said.

Though most hospitals canceled elective surgeries and other non-urgent medical procedures, some needs cannot wait. At Hialeah Hospital, doctors delivered two babies Saturday afternoon as Irma approached, including R'Mir Demetri Peavy, a boy, and Yuliet Martinez Vega, a girl.

In Miami-Dade and Broward counties, most hospital systems stayed open, staffing their emergency rooms and trauma centers, and sheltering pregnant patients and others with medical needs.

Broward's two public hospital systems, Broward Health in the north and Memorial Healthcare System in the south, reported no evacuations for any of their hospitals. However, all other healthcare facilities, such as urgent care centers and community health clinics, were closed.

Jackson Health System, Miami-Dade's public hospital network, also kept its hospitals and emergency rooms open in Miami, North Miami Beach and South Dade. And Baptist Health South Florida reported its facilities also remained open, sheltering 220 pregnant women and more than 2,000 employees and family members.

-- DANIEL CHANG

Total blackout in Homestead

12:30 a.m.: Homestead has gone dark.

Every resident with municipal power -- about 75 percent of the city -- are waiting out the storm with no electricity. Homestead officials say the remaining sliver of the city who have FPL are also without power

About 24,000 of households have Homestead Public Services Energy. About 8,000 homes have FPL.

It doesn't look like power will be coming back anytime soon, HPS Energy director Barbara Quiñones said.

"Well have to wait until those winds drop down to 30 mph," she said. "We won't be able to do anything until it dies down."

Homestead Hospital is currently running on generators, Quiñones said, noting that hospitals, police and fire stations, nursing homes and elderly facilities get priority."

Homestead officials have been broadcasting live every few hours over the last 24 hours. Their studio is currently running on generators as city workers address their citizens.

A giant screen with Homestead livefeed sits behind them.

-- MONIQUE O. MADAN

Hollywood house catches fire amid storm

11:45 a.m.: A house fire at 10th Ave. and Harrison St. in Hollywood was reported on Sunday morning.

The house was a single-family home, but nobody was inside when the fire occurred, according to Chris Del Campo, the Hollywood Fire Rescue and Beach Safety.

Hollywood Fire Rescue responded and put the fire out -- though typical operations were difficult to carry out due to the weather conditions.

Before noon on Sunday, firefighters were applying foam to act as a blanket to prevent a reignition, according to Del Campo.

Further investigation is required to determine the cause of the fire.

Del Campo said the fire department is not responding to scenes due to the jeopardy that it would put its members in. They were, however, able to respond to this fire.

"It has to be something very significant," he said.

Police, firefighters, and paramedics have had difficulties responding to calls overnight and this morning as Hurricane Irma plows through South Florida. Several fires have been reported at North Miami Beach, according to Maj. Richard Rand. NBC6 reported two downed power lines that fell into a family pool in Hollywood.

-- SYDNEY PEREIRA

Two Florida law enforcement agents die in head-on crash

11:45 a.m.: Two law enforcement officers died in a head-on crash Sunday morning.

Kerri Wyland, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Scott, told reporters a Hardee County sheriff's deputy was leaving their shift and, separately, a state corrections officer was traveling to start their's when their vehicles collided.

Additional details about the crash -- such as exactly when or where it occurred and whether weather conditions from Hurricane Irma played a factor -- were not immediately released.

The Florida Department of Corrections said Sgt. Joseph Ossman was reporting to duty at the Hardee Correctional Institution when the crash occurred. He worked for the department for 21 years, Corrections Secretary Julie Jones said.

"We are heartbroken by this loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and fellow officers at this time," Jones said in a statement.

Details about the Hardee deputy who died were not immediately available. The Naples Daily News reported the officer was Julie Bridges, a 13-year veteran of the department.

She was leaving a hurricane shelter where she was assigned, and the Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash, the newspaper reported.

-- KRISTEN M. CLARK

Miami Mayor worries about downtown flooding on Today Show

11:35 a.m.: In an early morning interview with the Today Show, Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado was relieved that the city seemed to have avoided the worst-case scenario of Irma hitting Southeast Florida dead-on. But he remained concerned.

"There is a sense of relief because we were told we'd get a direct hit ... we're concerned about storm surge," he told the Today Show. "We're afraid of flooding in downtown."

He was right to be worried.

A crane at 300 Biscayne Blvd. toppled late Sunday morning. And videos posted to social media throughout the young day have shown the storm creating white caps at the normally sedate mouth of the Miami River, and downing a tree covering much of Southwest First Avenue heading into Brickell.

Newscasters broadcasting where Biscayne Blvd. turns east from the Brickell Bridge before bending north past the Intercontinental Hotel were standing shin-deep in water by mid-morningg. And by 11:30 a.m., WSVN was broadcasting images of Brickell that appeared to show the area -- Miami's financial district -- perhaps knee-deep in storm surge.

-- DAVID SMILEY

More than 500 Florida shelters house 100,000+ people

11:30 a.m.: As of 11:30 a.m., 534 shelters were open across Florida, housing 116,300 people.

Of those, 12,755 individuals were taking refuge in 78 "special needs" shelters.

-- KRISTEN M. CLARK

Irma could cut power for 3 million Floridians

11:20 a.m.: Category 4 Hurricane Irma could cut the power to as many as 3 million Florida Power Light customers before the storm is done with Florida, FPL officials said Sunday morning in a 40-minute briefing meeting at the company's command center.

Outages stood at 1.5 million FPL customer accounts -- or about 3 million people -- at 11 a.m. and are expected to increase throughout the day.

While FPL workers are repairing what they can today between feeder bands in some areas, including Palm Beach County and Miami-Dade County, roughly 17,000 line and vegetation workers are prepared to begin full-scale restoration efforts Monday.

The repairs and restoration are forecast to take more than 1 million man hours, but the cost cannot be calculated yet.

FPL CEO and President Eric Silagy said, "We are not going to bed here. We are working 24/7. This is a monster.

"Right now we are still waiting for the storm to make landfall," Silagy said. "These are all just estimates based on computer models. What they don't take into account is tornadoes."

Once the impact of tornadoes, which can cause structural damage, and storm surge are known, the damage assessment should take about 48 hours, Silagy said.

"This is the hardest part of the storm for us. We know what our customers are going through. Outages are going to continue to climb because the storm is getting closer. This is a slow-moving storm. Frances was a lot like this," Silagy said.

"When you are at home riding this through, and power goes out, it is out for a long time," Silagy said. "By the time the storm clears, some people will have been out for a day, and we haven't even been able to roll a truck."

-- SUSAN SALISBURY, PALM BEACH POST

Brickell is flooding

10:30 a.m.: Punishing winds are ripping through Brickell and water is rising in the streets. Southeast Twelfth Street resembles a river in the current squall. Miami's financial district sits directly on Biscayne Bay.

-- JOEY FLECHAS

Rubio: If you left Miami, it's too soon to come back

10:20 a.m.: Sen. Marco Rubio urged South Florida residents who evacuated Miami for places like Orlando and Tampa to stay in place even as the western part of the state faces a direct hit form Hurricane Irma.

"This is not a time for them to get out on the road and try to head back, this is a time for them to have confidence, hopefully, in where they are and just stay in place and ride it out," Rubio told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday morning. "There really wasn't anywhere in Florida I could point to and say, if you go there, you're not going to see the storm. It's going to cover all of Florida. I know people that went to Georgia that are now figuring out how to get out of Georgia because it's headed in that direction."

Rubio told Tapper that he did not evacuate from his Miami home because he wasn't in a flood zone and away from the coast.

"My home was built in 2005 so my roof is built to withstand a Category 3 storm, which we won't get the effects of in Miami."

Rubio urged residents in Western Florida to follow the storm's track throughout Sunday.

"We're concerned about it intensifying as it heads into Southwest Florida, into Naples, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Tampa Bay. That has always been our biggest fear, a massive storm headed into that region pushing all that water in there plus the wind."

-- ALEX DAUGHERTY

Coral Gables battered by heavy winds

10:05 a.m.: Tropical storm-force winds and extreme gusts are pummeling Coral Gables, bending trees to unnatural, deformed angles or pushing them to the ground.

The city's trademark canopy is being shredded, creating impassable streets covered with branches or blocked by downed trees. The Gables' characteristic barrel tiles on roofs are getting smashed by debris as trees crack apart.

Transformers began blowing out hours ago with that distinctive screeching-to-a-halt sound that wincing residents have come to recognize and hate. There are widespread power outages.

On Miami Beach, the National Hurricane Center says residents can expect gusts of between 80 and 100 miles per hour over next few hours. That is hurricane speed.

-- LINDA ROBERTSON, ANDRES VIGLUCCI AND CHARLES RABIN

More than 1.3 million power outages in South Florida

9:45 a.m.: Shortly after Category 4 Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys Sunday morning, 1,378,773 Florida Power Light customers were without power.

At 8 a.m. 103,900 Palm Beach County FPL customers were in the dark, and 29,670 had been restored. The numbers are for customer accounts, not people.

Miami-Dade County had the most outages at 574,490. In Broward County, 360,750 customers were without power.

Southwest Florida outages were not as great but are expected to begin increasing any minute. In Collier County 3,010 customers had outages, and 4,020 were restored.

In Lee County, 1,350 customers were without power and 1,760 were restored.

To report an outage, go to FPL.com

To view the outage map, report an outage, or check the status of an outage, click here.

FPL crews are working to restore power. Crews can work as long as winds are less than 35 mph.

Read the latest on power outages here.

-- SUSAN SALISBURY, PALM BEACH POST

Florida roads empty as Irma sweeps through

9:40 a.m.: Many primary roadways in southern and central Florida were desolate -- or nearly so -- on Sunday morning as Hurricane Irma neared landfall in the Florida Keys and her outer bands crept up the peninsula.

Real-time traffic maps from the state showed the gridlock that paralyzed motorists on Thursday, Friday and Saturday had dissipated, indicating that most all residents who wanted to flee had. Traffic counts on main thoroughfares, like I-95 or the Turnpike, showed barely anyone on the road by mid-morning.

The exception was an uptick on I-75 out of Tampa Bay, where more than 500 vehicles passed near Zephyrhills in Pasco County in the 8 o'clock hour. (That's about half the normal flow, though.)

-- KRISTEN M. CLARK IN TALLAHASSEE

Two shelters without power

9:37 a.m.: All 42 Miami-Dade schools-turned-shelters were "reporting great structural integrity," Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said via Twitter Sunday morning. Six of the shelters are currently running on generators and two have no power, although mechanics are on site.

The shelters replenished their food and water supplies Saturday and now have enough supplies for additional days, Carvalho told the Herald. The biggest issue will likely continue to be intermittent power.

"Some power strikes continue to bring power down, but generators are kicking in," he said.

Shelters have been ordered to accept anyone "no questions asked" even if they are at capacity, Carvalho said.

UPDATE 9:51 a.m.: Power has returned to one of the dark shelters.

-- KYRA GURNEY

Miami-Dade police: We've stopped responding to calls

9:35 a.m.: Miami-Dade police halted responding to calls Sunday morning after Hurricane Irma brought hurricane-strength winds to the county.

"Our officers are now sheltered for their safety," the county agency posted on Twitter at 9:13 a.m. "We cannot respond to calls for service. Stay indoors."

-- DOUGLAS HANKS

Irma makes landfall in Florida Keys

9:30 a.m.: The center of fierce Hurricane Irma, pushing a dangerous flood of ocean water, made landfall early Sunday morning on Cudjoe Key, just a short drive down the Overseas Highway from Key West.

The storm arrived in the Lower Keys as a Category 4 with howling winds and the National Weather Service Key West office warned early Monday that sustained winds of up to 120 mph would continue for hours from Big Pine Key to Key West. A bigger concern was storm surge, which was still rising in the morning. Some social media posts already showed knee-deep water in portions of Old Town and forecasters said seven to 10 feet above ground level was a possibility in some areas.

Mike Brennan, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center, said that despite Irma's landfall -- at 9:10 a.m. for the record -- that people sheltered in the Lower Keys should stay put until the storm clears out.

-- CHARLES RABIN AND JENNY STALETOVICH

Miami Beach on lockdown

9:25 a.m.: Sunday morning, it didn't matter that the city-imposed Miami Beach curfew ended at 7 a.m. The weather told those who hadn't evacuated Miami Beach to stay indoors.

Tropical storm force winds battered the peninsula so heavily that the city announced at 7:45 a.m. rescue services would be suspended until responders could travel safely. The city tweeted that most of the city had lost power, not a surprise as transformers blew like popcorn from late Saturday night until past Sunday dawn.

Watch images of choppy waters in Biscayne Bay here.

-- DAVID J. NEAL

Scott addresses emergency operations center -- in secret

9:20 a.m.: Around 8:45 a.m., Gov. Rick Scott popped in the main room at the state Emergency Operations Center for a few minutes to address several dozens emergency response personnel.

As has been the case all week for any storm updates or briefings in that room, reporters were barred from listening -- save for pressing their ears to a glass wall and hoping to catch the words.

A reporter from the Naples Daily News was able to discern Scott say: "We're going to get through this," and "we've got a lot of work to do."

Under past administrations and even as recently as Hurricane Matthew last fall under Scott, reporters were allowed in the EOC room to observe and report information from storm briefings and Scott's visits.

But staff at the governor's office and the Department of Emergency Management have denied access for Irma, even when it's forecast to be far worse.

Meanwhile, Scott has spent his morning appearing on national network and cable morning shows. He won't brief state and local press in Tallahassee until noon.

-- KRISTEN M. CLARK IN TALLAHASSEE

Miami-Dade: Stay where you are. And get comfortable.

9:15 a.m.: Miami-Dade wants residents to stay where they are, and plan to be there until Monday at the earliest.

After a night of tropical storm winds, the county's top spokesman said the weather has deteriorated to the point that it would be far more dangerous for residents to head for a Miami-Dade shelter than to just stay where they are.

"We are not encouraging residents to move out and go to shelters at this time," communications director Michael Hernández said Sunday morning. "They will not be turned away if you knock on the door. But we are asking residents to stay where they are. Because it is just too dangerous to be out on the road at this time."

Miami-Dade has 43 shelters open for Hurricane Irma -- by far the most in county history -- and about 31,000 people are inside them. Eighteen are full,

As Hernández spoke shortly after 8:15 a.m., winds in Miami clocked around 40 mph, with gusts to 60. All of Miami-Dade County was under a tornado watch, and power outages were so bad that 56 percent of Florida Power and Light's customers in the county (631,000) lacked electricity.

Hernández emphasized that weather forecasts call for Irma's fierce winds to linger in Miami-Dade throughout Sunday.

"We've been going through a period where it was relatively stable," he said. "The weather service assures me that today, all the way through midnight, you're going to have [at least] this kind of weather outside."

-- DOUGLAS HANKS

Massive power outages across South Florida

9:10 a.m.: A third of homes and businesses in Miami-Dade and Broward counties were without power Sunday morning as Hurricane Irma began its assault on the lower Florida Keys.

As of 8 a.m. in Miami-Dade, 456,710 customers didn't have power out of a total 1.1 million customers, according to FPL's data. That's nearly half of homes and businesses, a total that has surged more than 500 percent in the last 12 hours. According to reports, most of Miami Beach was without power Sunday morning.

Broward's outages have also spiked. In Broward, 182,150 out of 933,300 customers were without power, up from just 25,890 at 6 p.m.

-- NANCY DAHLBERG

Irma keeps police and paramedics off the road

8:35 a.m.: Emergency responders across South Florida urged residents to stay off the roads as Category 4 Hurricane Irma reached the Florida Keys on Sunday morning.

"Powerlines are down and roads are flooded," warned Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue. "It is extremely dangerous outside with flying debris. Stay inside and bunker down."

Reports of powerlines down and trees obstructing roads will continue to make driving conditions unsafe on Sunday. At high wind speeds, police officers and fire-rescue personnel will not be able to respond to emergencies.

-- SYNDEY PEREIRA

Waters surging in Florida Keys

8:30 a.m.: Storm waters are surging in Key West as Hurricane Irma's powerful eyewall moves into the Lower Keys. Storm surge could rise as high as 10 feet, which authorities describe as life-threatening. The eye is expected to make landfall at any moment.

A video from National Geographic photographer Mike Theiss shows just how high waters levles are rising.

At a Marathon shelter, Keynoter editor Larry Kahn reported that "everything is underwater [in the city of Marathon], I mean everything." A man in the shelter died of natural causes overnight.

-- NICHOLAS NEHAMAS

Sailboats taking a pounding in Coconut Grove

8:10 a.m.: Hurricane Irma is pounding boats along the Coconut Grove waterfront, with at least one washed up on the seawall and Biscayne Bay lapping atop piers shortly after low tide Sunday morning.

A reader sent a photo of a sailboat that landed on the rocks by the city's Seminole Boat Ramp in the Grove. A video showed that at the nearby Dinner Key Marina and Grove Bay Grill (the restaurant by Miami City Hall that used to be called Scotty's) waves were crashing over the seawalls. A large multi-hull sailboat tied up there, Emmanuelle, had lifted partially onto the seawall. At a nearby pier, a smaller sailboat named Scrimshaw partially broke loose and was threatening to collide with the larger vessel.

High tide for Dinner Key was still hours away, at 1:10 p.m. Irma's fiercest winds still had hours before arrival, as well. That means the most dangerous hours for the Grove's sailing fleet are still to come.

Alain Lecusay, 51, was checking on his sailboat Minana around 9a.m. Sunday -- the second time he'd checked on the boat that day.

"I love very much so I keep checking in on her," he said. "She's okay, she's excellent."

He'd driven his truck down to the marina at 5 a.m., then realized he'd left his keys inside the locked vehicle. He had to walk back to his home several blocks away and bike back with the spare key.

But Lecusay, with a daredevil smile and yellow slicker, had a GoPro strapped to his head recording all the while.

"I'm enjoying what dead men can't," he said. "These are times to record."

He said he planned to send some of the footage to his daughter, 18, who lives in Seattle.

"She's like, 'Papa, what are you doing during a hurricane?' " he recalled. "I said, 'This is Miami. This is why I like it.' "

"I don't know that anybody expected it to be this bad," he added, as the winds picked up and choppy waves surged onto the sidewalk. "What's the forecast? Is it going to get worse?"

-- DOUGLAS HANKS AND ELIZABETH KOH

Miami Beach emergency workers no longer responding due to heavy weather

8:00 a.m.: Miami Beach officials announced that rescue teams are no longer responding to calls as weather conditions deteriorate on the barrier island. First responders will begin going out again once the storm has passed.

Some streets started to flood overnight in the Beach as outer bands of Hurricane Irma pounded the barrier island with relentless rain and winds so powerful that stop signs were spinning. Trees and power lines are down, and transformers blew. Television reporters tried to stay upright during live shots from coastal areas, including Derek Van Dam of CNN, who reported nearly hurricane force winds from South Beach.

High tide is expected to roll in around midday. Combined with a higher water level, persistent rain is expected to cause flooding.

-- JOEY FLECHAS

Irma too dangerous for Rick Scott to travel; Trump calls

7:50 a.m.: With Hurricane Irma affecting much of Florida by Sunday morning -- making travel unsafe -- Gov. Rick Scott remains in the state's capital city, where he just took a call from President Donald Trump.

Scott's staff sent out a revised schedule at 7:50 a.m. showing that he received a call from President Trump at 7:35 a.m.

The governor has spoken with Trump by phone several times in the past week regarding Hurricane Irma.

Scott is staying busy -- spending the next four hours going from national TV interview to national TV interview, with the state Emergency Operations Center as his photogenic backdrop.

His lineup includes almost all of the networks, several more than once: NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, The Weather Channel, Fox News and Fox Business. (No MSNBC.)

Scott will not provide an update to or field questions from state and local media gathered in Tallahassee until a press conference scheduled for noon. He began his day with a 6:45 a.m. weather briefing and will have another at 11:15 a.m.

For the national interviews, Scott sits in a small, locked conference room adjacent to a media briefing room where reporters work. Both rooms have a glass wall of windows overlooking the main operations room at the EOC, which is full of desks and a wall of projection screens used to coordinate the state's hurricane preparation and response.

Scott is largely repeating talking points he's said for days -- urging Floridians to be safe and prepare for dangerous storm surge.

TV producers and Scott's staff were hurriedly preparing for his appearances since before 6 a.m., phoning networks to confirm broadcast connections and arranging seating and lighting for how the governor would look on camera.

-- KRISTEN M. CLARK IN TALLAHASSEE

Nearly 500,000 in Miami-Dade do not have power

7:45 a.m.: Even before Irma makes landfall in the Keys, 499,526 homes and businesses are without power in Miami-Dade County, according to FPL. That's about 45 percent of Dade's 1.1 million customers. In Broward, 21 percent of customers (191,499) do not have power and in Palm Beach 16 percent of customers (118,909) have been cut off.

-- NICHOLAS NEHAMAS

Little Haiti woman has a hurricane baby at home

7:30 a.m.: Though Miami has largely been spared the worst of Hurricane Irma, winds grew so extreme overnight in the city that Miami's rescue crews were told to begin using judgment when deciding whether to respond to emergency calls.

One homeowner in Flagami at 331 SW 71st Ave. was lucky that firefighters were able to come out with two fire engines and extinguish a fire after a downed electrical wire set the building ablaze.

Fire rescue contacted FPL, which shut down the grid. No one was injured.

Paramedics also rescued a man who badly cut his arm and lost his pulse.

But a pregnant woman in Little Haiti wasn't quite so lucky.

With paramedics unable to go out into the storm, the assistant medical director at Jackson Memorial Hospital talked the woman through delivering her baby girl at home Sunday morning, according to Assistant Fire Chief Eloy Garcia.

"We weren't able to respond. So she delivered the placenta, also... She's stable at home," Garcia said.

Pete Gomez, Miami's emergency management director, said conditions remain dangerous, so replacement crews will not be coming in until the weather improves.

"We've got to follow our protocol," he said.

Gomez said he also got a call Saturday night around 10 p.m. from the Miami Shores police chief about an 18-story building with elderly residents where the sea wall had been washed out.

Gomez said the chief wanted to know if the situation was dangerous. He said Miami's building director talked to police about evacuating the bottom floor.

"It washed out a sea wall completely. I've never seen that here," Gomez said. "It's indicative of the damage the surges can cause."

As for police, Deputy Police Chief Luis Cabrera said the night was mostly quiet, save for plenty of downed trees. He urged people to stay inside.

-- DAVID SMILEY

Irma's northern eyewall reaches Keys

7:05 a.m.: Irma's northern eyewall is brushing up against the lower Florida Keys. But the National Hurricane Center won't consider it a landfall until the center of the eye passes over land.

-- CHARLES RABIN

'Quite a few' Miami-Dade ambulances got called overnight

6:18 a.m.: Despite raging tropical storm conditions, enough people were on the road in Miami-Dade overnight to prompt "quite a few" car accidents and rescue calls, said Erika Benitez, public information officer for Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue.

"People get confident when they start seeing that the storm is moving away from Miami-Dade County. And they try to venture out," she said Sunday morning. "Some people who maybe were in shelters are trying to possibly leave their shelters, and we have these situations.

"We do ask the public to remain in their shelters, in place, at this time to try and avoid further emergencies," she said. "Because we may not be able to get to them."

-- DOUGLAS HANKS

Destructive winds widen power outages

6 a.m.: Here's the clearest sign Irma's destructive winds are starting to move in earnest over South Florida: The number of power outages in the region jumped in the past hour to more than 423,000.

Here are the latest figures from Florida Power Light: 250,740 without power in Miami-Dade, 130,990 in Broward, and 41,460 in Palm Beach.

-- RENE RODRIGUEZ

Venetian Causeway residents keep losing, regaining power

5:55 a.m.: For Miami Beach residents near the Venetian Causeway who didn't heed evacuation orders, Saturday night into Sunday morning resembled someone playing with a giant light switch. Power to the area blinked four times during the night with most streetlights and a few condo buildings repeatedly regaining power.

Well, mostly: The eastern Venetian Causeway lights have been out since a transformer blew at around 11 p.m. Saturday.

-- DAVID J. NEAL

Latest advisory shows Irma will land soon

5 a.m.: Irma is about to move over the lower Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane, according to the latest National Hurricane Center advisory, which predicted landfall on or near Key West in the coming hours. Landfall is official the moment the center of the hurricane's eye passes over land.

"Do not venture outside when the calm eye of the hurricane passes over, as dangerous winds will return very quickly when the eye moves away," the advisory warned.

Read more on the 5 a.m. advisory here.

-- PATRICIA MAZZEI

Flood warning issued for most of southern peninsula

4:40 a.m.: The National Weather Service in Miami issued a flood warning for most of Florida's southern peninsula, citing increased rainfall from Irma.

The warning, in effect until 4:45 p.m., is for "urban areas and small streams" in Miami-Dade, Broward and Collier counties, and for the southern portion of Hendry County.

Up to 8 inches of rain have already fallen in some areas, with 8-15 inches of rain expected in most places, and more than 20 inches possible in some locations.

Expected to flood are Miami, Hialeah, Fort Lauderdale, Homestead, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood and Naples. Some streets in downtown Miami and Miami Beach already looked like shallow streams in the wee hours Sunday.

"Turn around, don't drown when encountering flooded roads," the flood warning read. "Most flood deaths occur in vehicles."

-- PATRICIA MAZZEI

South Florida power outages climb

4 a.m.: Power outages steadily increased Sunday morning as Irma winds picked up across South Florida. Nearly 282,000 Florida Power Light customers were in the dark: 184,050 in Miami-Dade, 73,400 in Broward and 24,410 in Palm Beach. All 29,000 customers for Keys Energy Services, a lower Keys utility, lost power by about 11 p.m. Saturday, the company said.

-- RENE RODRIGUEZ AND PATRICIA MAZZEI