Floridians have been bracing for its arrival since the previous week, and now the dreaded Hurricane Irma, touted as one of the most powerful cyclones to ever come out of the Atlantic yet, finally had its first contact with the Sunshine State this Sunday.

The country, still reeling from Hurricane Harvey weeks prior, finds its southern states once again being battered by the fury of nature, both storms having clocked winds that reached upwards of 130 miles per hour. Florida found itself receiving two landfalls from Irma at the beginning of the week, inflicting so much damage while acting so unpredictably to the point that a CNN reporter on the scene described Irma as “playing games” of the dangerous sort.

Two landfalls

The first landfall that Hurricane Irma made on Florida early on September 10 over at Cudjoe Key in the lower Florida Keys with the full extent of its category 4 power. Forecasters from the US National Hurricane Center noted that the cyclone is undergoing a shift in its trajectory while moving across the Keys, such that it is now veering slightly to the west. In doing so Irma is keeping its eye – the circular region of calm in the center of the storm’s strongest winds and rain – over the Gulf of Mexico, which only serves to make it stronger than if it had passed more over the coast.

Later that afternoon on Sunday, Irma proceeded to make its second (and mainland) landfall at the City of Marco Island.

Now that the hurricane has come to grips with the Sunshine State, Governor Rick Scott is now alerting southwest Florida that a “life-threatening” storm surge has begun affecting the Keys and soon to start at the coast as well. Even locations in eastern Florida, just off the direct path of the cyclone, was subjected to flooding and fierce winds that cut power lines and tore roofs off buildings, requiring residents to be evacuated.

Escaping the storm

Speaking of evacuations, the fear of what Hurricane Irma would bring has spurred hundreds of Floridians to flee from the path of the storm as early as possible. By September 8 the rush of vehicles driven by frantic evacuees has been deemed the largest evacuation ever done in the state, with traffic congestion on major roadways headed north such as Interstate 95, Interstate 75, and the Florida Turnpike.

Even as the storm begins its ravaging of Florida, Irma has already claimed the lives of almost 30 people throughout the Caribbean, as a grim testament to its cataclysmic might. On Florida itself, at least one person has been killed in a roadway accident on State Road 417, Orange County. Still, there have been glimmers of hope in the Sunshine State amidst the despair of Irma. A healthy baby girl was born at home in Coral Springs amidst the storm.