He said the ocean side of the island chain was "absolutely smashed", with many boats and homes leveled by more than a day of hurricane force winds. The Cuban victims died from causes ranging from electrocution to drowning, building collapse and a balcony falling on a bus, authorities there said. Irma has weakened-it had already been downgraded to a tropical storm before it hit Tampa-but it continues to dump massive amounts of rain onto Florida and Georgia.
Maximum sustained winds had decreased to 70 miles per hour (110 kilometers per hour) as of 8:00 am (1200 GMT). It will then move through southwestern Georgia and eastern Alabama through the night and into Tuesday. "The South Miami Dade area is made up of Black, immigrant and migrant people who are the most vulnerable".
"As little as six inches (15 centimeters) of moving water can knock you down", tweeted the state's governor Rick Scott.
"Stay inside. Stay safe", he added.
More than 180,000 people huddled in shelters in the Sunshine State and officials warned it could take weeks for electricity to be restored to everyone. In a parting blow to the state before pushing on to Georgia and beyond, the storm caused record flooding in and around Jacksonville, causing untold damage and prompting dozens of rescues.
Jose Dominguez Sr cleans up debris following Hurricane Irma in North Miami, Florida, on Monday. The company took offline one of two reactors at a nuclear plant south of Miami.
"Get out NOW", the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office warned people living near the swollen St.Johns River, which was running at historic flood levels.
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"When that sun came out this morning and the damage was minimal, it became a good day", Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said.
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In Bonita Springs, on Florida's hard-hit southwest coast, large areas were flooded and the entire city was without power. By yesterday afternoon, its winds were down to 97kph. Exact figures are sparse-news outlets still don't know how much property damage there is, or how many dead or injured there are.
Meanwhile, search-and-rescue teams located in Orlando and other staging areas were waiting out the storm until it was safe enough to go out and assess the extent of the damage and injuries.
Amy Brown, a mother of two stranded in a resort on St Martin, told the programme: "Every single government has responded but there's been absolutely nothing at all from our government". As the storm headed north, threatening torrential rains in Atlanta, a storm-surge warning was discontinued for parts of southern Florida.
"It wasn't as catastrophic as we were told, as we feared", Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said in an interview.
Hurricane strength is measured on the Saffir-Simpson scale, ranging from one (the lowest) to five (the highest) based on the hurricane's wind speed and estimated potential damage.
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President Donald Trump, who promised to travel to Florida "very soon", approved the state's request for emergency federal aid to help with temporary housing, home repairs, emergency work and hazard mitigation.
"Right now, we're worried about lives, not cost", Trump said.
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