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Four People Killed And Millions Left Without Power As Irma Hits Florida

Massive storm surges of 10-15 feet are expected soon on the west coast of Florida as Hurricane Irma moves northwest, pushing water away from the shoreline – water that will soon come rushing back, experts say. Lakes, sounds and bays are also at risk.

Irma, which has been downgraded again to Category 3 after being upgraded Saturday night, now has maximum sustained winds of 120mph, and has left downtown Miami flooded while increasing pressure on Naples and other cities up the west coast.

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‘Pray, pray for everybody in Florida,’ Governor Rick Scott said on Fox News Sunday.

More than a million people have been left without power across the state, and experts are warning those on the west coast not to be fooled by low tides and calm waters as massive storm surges will be inbound soon.

And two cranes – of two dozen in the city – have collapsed under intense wind pressure in Miami.

Meanwhile, a man was killed after tropical-storm-strength winds caused him to lose control of the truck he was driving through Monroe County, which contains Key West. He had been carrying a generator, local officials told ABC News.

Two others died in a car accident in Hardee County, Florida, the Florida Highway Patrol said. The area is around 60 miles inland from Sarasota.

One of the victims in that crash was Deputy Julie Bridges, a 13-year veteran of the county force who had been heading home from a shift. The other victim was a sergeant at the Hardee Correctional Institute who had been on his way to work.

And an elderly man died of natural causes while sheltering in a school in the city of Marathon on the Keys, Larry Kahn, an editor for FlKeysNews.com, said.

‘He was staying in one of the classrooms,’ Khan explained. ‘Police came up, along with a couple of nurses who are here, actually, got everyone out of the room and sealed it off.’

Those deaths come after Irma claimed at least 25 lives in the Caribbean as it swept over several countries, destroying entire islands. On Sunday afternoon Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that the confirmed death toll on the Caribbean island of St Maarten had increased to four.

Donald Trump was briefed on Sunday about the path of Hurricane Irma and preparations made to respond to the storm by the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the White House said.

The president, who met with his cabinet at Camp David this weekend, also spoke to the governors of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee as the hurricane path moved away from the lower Florida Keys westward to the Gulf Coast and states to the north.

Vice President Mike Pence and several members of Trump’s cabinet were set to visit FEMA headquarters on Sunday afternoon to talk with staff members who have been working there as well as agency officials, the White House said.

‘This Sunday morning please keep those impacted by #Irma in your hearts & prayers,’ the Vice President tweeted. ‘@POTUS, our team, & the American people are with you all.’

Governor Scott said on NBC that he spoke to President Donald Trump, and ‘everything I’ve asked out of the federal government, he’s made sure he gave us.’

Once the storm passes, ‘we’re going to need a lot of help,’ Scott warned. But he also described Florida as ‘a tough state. We’re going to come through this.’

Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long said on Fox News Sunday: ‘Once this system passes through, it’s going to be a race to save lives and sustain lives.

As the hurricane moves up the west coast, experts have warned that there will be a negative surge of three or more feet, as water is pulled out into the sea, or into the centers of lakes, bays or sounds.

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