Hurricane Irma has hit the US with 210 km/h winds, claiming at least three lives in Florida.
Even before it came ashore last night, Florida was feeling Irma's fury with at least three people killed, a woman forced to deliver her own baby and trees and apartment towers swaying in high winds.
The storm was one of the most powerful ever seen in the Atlantic and has already killed 24 in the Caribbean and pummelled Cuba with 11 metre waves.
Its core was located about 105km south of Naples by 4am this morning.
Some 6.5 million people, about a third of Florida's population, had been ordered to evacuate southern Florida.
Officials warned that Irma's heavy storm surge ‑ seawater driven on land by high winds ‑ could bring floods of up to 4.6m along the state's western Gulf Coast.
It submerged the highway that connects the isolated Florida Keys archipelago with the mainland and small whitecapped waves could be seen in flooded streets between Miami office towers.
At least 1.6 million Florida homes and businesses had lost power, according to Florida Power & Light and other utilities.
The storm winds downed a construction crane and shook tall buildings in Miami, which was about 153km from Irma's core.
The National Hurricane Centre forecast that its centre eye will move near or over the state's west coast later today.
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