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Weather & Natural Disasters

Irma floods parts of the Southeast

Key Points
  • Tropical Storm Irma covered the entire states of Georgia and South Carolina, nearly all of Alabama, and portions of Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee, according to radar from the National Weather Service.
  • The storm produced maximum sustained winds of 50 mph, the NHC said.
JPMorgan: Irma will be one of the 5 most costly hurricanes

Tropical Storm Irma dumped rain and whipped waves as it pressed north Monday, flooding cities including Charleston, South Carolina, and Jacksonville, Florida.

Images of Charleston showed powerful waves crashing onto the shore and a waterlogged downtown. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division urged people to stay where they are if they are "safely able to do so."

Nearly the entire state of Georgia was under a flash flood warning Monday. The Ohoopee River near Reidsville and the Canoochee River near Claxton are forecast to flood by Monday night or early Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service said.

The St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida, experienced its worst flooding levels since 1846, the city said.

Some people tried driving around Jacksonville on Monday despite the police department's warnings.

In Gainesville, Florida, some people ignored warnings — and barricades.

Irma churned about 10 miles east of Albany, Georgia, and 150 miles south of Atlanta as of 4:30 p.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm has left nearly 6.7 million people in Alabama, Georgia and Florida without power.

The storm is expected to dump 3 to 6 inches of rain, up to 10 inches in isolated areas, in South Carolina, north-central Georgia and Alabama into the southern Appalachians, the NHC said. It is anticipated to bring 2 to 4 inches of rain to northern Mississippi and southern portions of Tennessee and North Carolina.

Joey Spalding walks back to his truck down the street where he lives, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, on Tybee Island, Ga.
Stephen B. Morton | AP

Irma's winds remained destructive, though they have slowed since making landfall over the weekend. The storm produced maximum sustained winds of 50 mph as of 4:30 p.m. ET, the NHC said.

Tornadoes are possible Monday night along the South Carolina coast, the NHC said.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's busiest for passenger traffic, remained open Monday. More than 1,200 flights were cancelled, though some still flew.

Miami and Tampa international airports, as well as airports in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, were closed on Monday.

Mike Locklear looks at the beach erosion from a beach crossover caused by storm surge from Tropical Depression Irma, Monday, Sept., 11, 2017 on Tybee Island, Ga.
Stephen B. Morton | AP

The storm grounded thousands of flights across four continents over the weekend.

Irma, ranked as one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic, hit a wide swath of Florida over the past day, first making landfall on the Florida Keys archipelago and then coming ashore south of Naples and heading up the west coast.

Irma hit Florida after powering through the Caribbean as a rare Category 5 hurricane, the top rung of the Saffir-Simpson scale. It killed 38 people, including 10 in Cuba, which was battered over the weekend by ferocious winds and 36-foot waves.

The NHC expects Irma to continue to weaken and become a tropical depression on Tuesday.

— Reuters contributed to this report.