Two men stand on the beach as winds and rain in the outer bands of Hurricane Irma arrive in Miami Beach, Florida, September 9, 2017. (AFP photo)
TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Officials have urged 6.3 million people in Florida to evacuate as the storm unleashes heavy winds and rain on the state.
Florida Governor Rick Scott said Saturday that at least 76,000 people were without electric power, warning that "it’s going to get worse... this is going to be massive."
"If you have been ordered to evacuate anywhere in the state, you need to leave right now. Not tonight. Not in an hour. Now. You are running out of time to make a decision," Scott said.
Hurricane Irma is currently moving away from the coast of Cuba and is making landfall on the island chain known as the Florida Keys, which forms the southernmost portion of the state.
For those still at home, it was already too late to escape the wrath of what could be the worst hurricane in storm-prone Florida.
Irma weakened from a maximum-strength Category Five to a Category Three storm, though it was still packing winds of 125 miles (200 kilometer) per hour.
The mass exodus from southern Florida could become one of the largest evacuations in US history, according to CNN.
US President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and their cabinet were briefed on Hurricanes Irma and Jose, with Trump warning on Twitter that "this is a storm of enormous destructive power."
Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator (FEMA) said Friday that Irma will "devastate" parts of the Southeastern United States.