Message to Florida residents, 'stay indoors'

3:05pm - The National Weather Service has issued a warning for everyone in Florida to stay indoors as they head into Sunday night.

Heavy rain and storms have flooded many areas across the state.

2:40pm - Four million now without power in Florida

Hurricane Irma has knocked out power to nearly 4 million homes and businesses in Florida, threatening millions more as it creeps up the state's west coast.

So far, the brunt of the storm has affected Florida Power & Light's customers in the states' southern and eastern sections, and its own operations were not immune, either.

"We are not subject to any special treatment from Hurricane Irma. We just experienced a power outage at our command centre. We do have backup generation," FPL spokesman Rob Gould said.

FPL added that its two nuclear plants also were safe.

2:30pm - Miami International Airport 'damaged' by Irma, all flights grounded in Florida

Florida, Aviation
Flights across Florida have been grounded. Photo credit: FlightRadar

Florida's gateway to the world has been hammered by Hurricane Irma forcing the closure of Miami International Airport for at least the next two days.

Gusts of more than 160 km/h have been reported in the area with the airport suffering "significant water damage."

Officials are hoping to resume a limited number of flights on Tuesday local time.

All flights have been grounded in the state as Hurricane Irma makes its way up the Florida coast.

2:00pm - Manatees rescued from Florida beach as Irma bears down

A number of manatees were left stranded in Sarasota Bay in Florida after Hurricane Irma pulled water out of the bay, leaving the animals beached in mud.

Marcelo Clavijo says he noticed the manatees on the flats and decided to help. 

"[We] ended up saving two manatees," Mr Clavijo said, according to CBS.

Locals used large tarpaulins to move the animals nearly 100m to safety.

12:25pm - The US National Hurricane Centre is warning of possible "life threatening" storm surges to come.

12:03pm - Large parts of Miami are flooded due to rainfall.

10:28am - Irma is turning Miami streets into rivers.

10:10am - Video of tornadoes forming in Florida has emerged on Twitter.

8:30am - Power has been knocked out to two million homes in Florida.

Much of the state has yet to feel the full brunt of the storm as Irma barrelled across the Florida Keys on Sunday morning and rolled up the state's southwest coast with maximum sustained winds of 195km/h, making it a Category 3 storm, the third worst on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

So far, the brunt of the storm has affected Florida Power & Light's (FPL) customers in the southern and eastern sections of the state.

FPL, the biggest power company in Florida, said over 1.9 million of its customers were without power on Sunday afternoon

FPL decided to shut only one of the two reactors at its Turkey Point nuclear plant on Saturday because the storm track shifted, and plans to leave both reactors at the St Lucie plant in service because hurricane force winds are no longer expected to hit the sites.


7:44am - At least six tornadoes have been reported in southern Florida.

7:24am - Intense winds are hitting Marcos Island off Florida.

7am - Hurricane Irma has truly hit Florida with two million homes without power and at least three people dead. Caught in the middle of the storm in Palm Beach, Florida, is New Zealand woman Anna Wilding.

When asked to describe the hurricane, Ms Wilding told the AM Show that it's hard to find "any adjective to describe" the impact of being hit with the full force of the storm just outside the eye of the hurricane.

"It is nerve wracking. You know there's no question, there is nothing funny or anything about this.

"I had somebody write to me and say just take the quiet time to be creative and write ... you're basically in survival mode 24/7"

From her position the deadly storm is "violent" with sustained winds of 60-100km/h and gusts over 170km/h. 

The Wilding family is also under "constant tornado watch" as warnings inform residents that tornadoes are forming off the coast of Florida and may make their way inland.   

The area has lost power and Ms Wilding has experienced some damage to her house, describing "trees splitting in two" and water making its way through both the plywood boarding up her windows and the double glazed windows.