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Tampa mayor: 'We are about to get punched in the face' by Hurricane Irma

  • Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn warns his city's residents to get ready for a direct hit from Hurricane Irma.
  • "We are about to get punched in the face by this storm. We need to be prepared," Buckhorn posted on social media.
Office buildings stand in downtown Tampa, Florida, U.S., as the eye of the storm moved over the lower Florida Keys on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Office buildings stand in downtown Tampa, Florida, U.S., as the eye of the storm moved over the lower Florida Keys on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.

The mayor of Tampa is starkly warning his city's 377,000 residents to get ready for Hurricane Irma's wrath.

"We are about to get punched in the face by this storm. We need to be prepared," Mayor Bob Buckhorn posted on social media.

Hurricane Irma's eye made landfall Sunday morning in the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm on its way toward Tampa. The city is the third largest by population in Florida and hasn't seen a direct hit from a major hurricane in almost a century.


Buckhorn also announced the city will have a curfew after 6 p.m. EDT Sunday. He said the curfew was needed to "clean up the debris" and allow the utility company to "get in to restore power."

The public information coordinator for the city of Clearwater tweeted a video showing the bare ocean floor as the water in Tampa Bay was being sucked away by the encroaching storm.

Meteorologists noted this phenomenon was not a sign of a tsunami but a side effect of a hurricane with the power of Irma.

Hurricane Irma will cause insured losses in the range of $20 billion and $65 billion, including the Caribbean, according to a projection Saturday from risk modeling software company AIR Worldwide.


A couple walk their dogs on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, Florida, on September 10, 2017, where Tampa residents are fleeing the evacuation zones ahead of Hurricane Irma's landfall.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
A couple walk their dogs on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, Florida, on September 10, 2017, where Tampa residents are fleeing the evacuation zones ahead of Hurricane Irma's landfall.