Hurricane Irma, now a Category 3 hurricane, barrels toward Naples

Irma has been downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph, the National Weather Service said Sunday afternoon.

At 2 p.m. ET, Irma was 35 miles south of Naples, Florida — a city expected to take a severe hit in the coming hours.

Hurricane Irma bludgeoned Florida on Sunday, snapping trees like matchsticks and turning Miami streets into rivers.

And there’s plenty more damage to come.

Naples and Marco Island will endure some of the strongest winds in the next few hours, the National Hurricane Center said Sunday.

But even more dangerous than the winds could be the storm surges that threaten to swallow Florida’s coastal cities.

“There is imminent danger of life-threatening storm surge flooding along much of the Florida west coast, including the Florida Keys, where a storm surge warning is in effect,” the hurricane center said.

“The threat of catastrophic storm surge flooding is highest along the southwest coast of Florida, where 10 to 15 feet of inundation above ground level is expected. This is a life-threatening situation.”

Still, not everyone heeded orders to evacuate coastal Florida.

Wayne Ploghoft is hunkered down on the third floor of a building on Marco Island — where catastrophic storm surges are imminent.

Ploghoft said he wasn’t able to evacuate because his flight plans didn’t work out. Now Ploghoft and three others are holed up with stockpiles of water, canned food and battery power.

“We’re all going to be OK,” Ploghoft said.

But Gov. Rick Scott said Irma’s wrath is unprecedented.

“We have never had anything like this before,” he told CNN Sunday.

In Florida and southern Georgia, more than 8 million people face hurricane-force winds topping 74 mph, said Ryan Maue of WeatherBell Analytics.

And almost the entire state of Florida is under a hurricane warning, affecting at least 36 million people.

Miami succumbs to Irma’s wrath

Gusts topping 90 mph whipped Miami on Sunday, knocking out power to more than 680,000 customers in the Miami-Dade area.

Flying objects such as coconuts turned into dangerous projectiles. And at least one construction crane snapped, swinging vigorously over downtown Miami.

Matthew Spuler captured video of waves crashing over a seawall toward his high-rise building in downtown Miami.

“There is no seawall whatsoever,” Spuler said. “It’s amazing. It’s under water.”

The latest developments:

— Miami-Dade County announced a curfew between 7 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. Monday.

— Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has expanded a state of emergency to include all 159 Georgia counties, Deal’s office said. The decision was made in advance of heavy rains, strong winds and potential flooding from Hurricane Irma. The state government will be closed Monday and Tuesday except for essential personnel.

— The forecast track for Irma has shifted 15 miles east, the National Hurricane Center said Sunday. But it’s still not clear exactly when or where on the Florida mainland Irma will make landfall — meaning half the hurricane’s eye is over land.

“With the eye tracking this close to land, everyone needs to be prepared for the worst possible conditions,” CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said.

— More than 1.43 million electric customers across 24 counties are without power, Florida Power and Light said Sunday morning.

— Miami-Dade officers can no longer respond to calls for service, the Miami-Dade Police Department tweeted Sunday. Police are urging residents to stay indoors and not venture outside.

— A 6 p.m. curfew has been put in place for Tampa. Manatee County officials announced a curfew from 3 p.m. ET Sunday until 3 p.m. ET Monday.

— A storm surge warning wraps around the state, from Brevard County to Tampa Bay.

At least 24 deaths have been blamed on Irma in the Caribbean islands, where it hit before barreling toward Florida.

‘You can’t survive these storm surges’

The governor warned some storm surges could be deadly.

“You can’t survive these storm surges,” the governor said.

Track Hurricane Irma’s path

Those who did not evacuate ahead of the storm are in danger, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long said Saturday.

“You’re on your own until we can actually get in there and it’s safe,” he told CNN.

Gas stations on Florida’s west coast are running out of fuel

But Key West business owner Jason Jonas said he stayed behind because he’s in a home that is “built like a bunker.”

“It’s pretty much the only reason I considered staying here because I knew that I had a pretty good chance of making it through this thing,” he said.

“We’re 30 plus feet above sea level and in a place that’s built to withstand 225 mph winds — I mean that’s a better chance than being exposed out on the highway in traffic trying to make it to Georgia.”

Mass evacuations jammed highways heading north and created a severe gas shortage in some parts the state.

Irma hit Cuba’s Ciego de Avila province late Friday as a Category 5 hurricane before it weakened and headed to the US.

This is the the first year on record that the continental US has had two Category 4 hurricane landfalls in the same year.

Last month, Hurricane Harvey devastated much of coastal Texas and killed more than 70 people.

Other cities will get pummeled

Several Florida cities are in or near the forecast path of the storm’s eye.

What’s with all these hurricane forecast models?

The storm will be devastating for central Florida, Tampa, Fort Myers, Naples and Key West, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.

In Fort Myers, where storm surge warnings are in effect, Evanson Ngai stayed up all night, tracking the hurricane.

“I’ve tried to get some sleep but I can’t. Just the nervousness, trying to keep an eye on it to see if its track will change,” he said.

Ngai plans to crouch in the bathtub when it makes landfall.

“Right now, it’s a little bit of gusty winds and some rain,” he said early Sunday. “We’ve moved everything away from windows. We’re hoping for the best — we’ve bought nonperishable foods and water, and we have a flashlight.”

Florida Power and Light estimated 3.4 million of its customers could be without power at some point during Irma, the company’s largest number of outages ever.

“We think this could be the most challenging restoration in the history of the US,” company spokesman Chris McGrath said.

Other states may be affected

As Irma moves inland, more than 45 million people will face tropical storm conditions — meaning winds will top 39 mph, Maue said. Those states include Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued a mandatory evacuation for some barrier islands, while Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal expanded a state of emergency to include 94 counties.

The National Weather Service in Atlanta issued a tropical storm watch for the area Monday and Tuesday. Schools in the state planned to close Monday.

Alabama and North Carolina may also be affected, FEMA said.

Are you affected by Irma? Text, iMessage or WhatsApp your videos, photos and stories to CNN (but only if it’s safe to do so): +1 347-322-0415.

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