"We all sort of scattered around the country when we evacuated, so we're trying to stay in touch", said Suzanne Trottier, who left her Key West, Florida, home for Virginia nearly a week ago ahead of Irma.
With Irma packing tropical storm winds more than 200 miles (320 kilometers) from its center Sunday, threats of punishing wind and heavy rain extended far from the expected path of its eyewall. Forecasters warned that Irma remained extremely risky as the monster storm toppled trees and power lines, peeled tiles off roofs and threatened coastal areas with storm surges of up to 15 feet (4.6 m). The company has restored power to about 1 million customers so far but CEO Eric Silagy said Monday that "even though we are restoring power, people need to be prepared for some prolonged and extended outages".
"This is a life-threatening situation", Governor Rick Scott told a press conference.
The storm engulfed almost the entire Florida peninsula, wreaking havoc from the state's southernmost point up to the Georgia line, from the Atlantic coast to the Gulf side. One person was found dead in a home in Shark Key.
For those still at home, it was already too late to escape the wrath of what could be the worst hurricane in storm-prone Florida.
"Several of the deaths caused by Irma came as people started cleaning up and making repairs".
Officials in Tampa, which was expected to receive a direct hit from the storm, say the city managed to avoid catastrophe.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said the situation was not as bad as it could have been but warned residents that risky storm surge continued. The once-Category 5 storm lost some of its power on the northern Cuba coast. Not only did the storm manage to maintain an unprecedented wind speed, but it has cost a staggering amount in damages.More news: US Open: Del Potro Stuns Federer to Set Up Nadal Showdown
The curfew is still in effect from 9 p.m.to 6 a.m.
A weakened but still risky Irma is pushing inland as it hammers Florida with winds and floods that have created hazards even for rescuers trying to help beleaguered residents.
The damage Irma's winds and storm surge do to Florida's 660 miles (1,060 km) of beaches and the structures built along them during more than 30 years of explosive population growth will be critical to how quickly the state's 's No. 1 industry recovers.
The Miami waterfront, as well as the islands that make up the city, are used to flooding because much of the city is low lying and facing rising sea levels. High rise apartment buildings were left standing like islands in the flood. Firefighters later took her to the hospital. "Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other unsafe conditions", it said.
"What we feared the most was the surge", he said this morning on MSNBC. "It's like being on a ship".
"How are we going to survive from here?" asked Gwen Bush, who waded through thigh-deep floodwaters outside her central Florida home to reach National Guard rescuers and get a ride to a shelter. And a couple of towns over in a town called Live Oak, I filled up at a gas station called Busy Bee.
Another hurricane, Jose, has been weakening over the western Atlantic, with swells due to affect parts of Hispaniola (the island split into Haiti and the Dominican Republic), the Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands, later this week.