"Irma is continuing to weaken as it moves across the western Florida peninsula, with the eye dissipating and weakening banding near the center", the National Hurricane Center said in its 8 a.m. forecast.
Hurricane Jose is now moving toward the east at 7 miles per hour, and a turn to the southeast and south at a slow forward speed is expected over the next couple of days.
Irma hit southwest Florida on Sunday morning as a risky Category 4 storm, the second-highest level on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.
In Georgia, utilities reported nearly 390,000 customers without power. "Water is expected to rise another 1 to 2 feet when winds switch to the south and push water northward into downtown - and the high tide begins to come into the river". As the storm made landfall on the Florida Keys archipelago off the tip of southern Florida, torrential rains and lashing winds knocked out power to almost 800,000 homes and businesses on the mainland, according to utilities.
That's because some islands are extremely hard to access.
"How are we going to survive from here?" asked Gwen Bush, who waded through thigh-deep floodwaters outside her central Florida home to reach National Guard rescuers and get a ride to a shelter. "I tell you, whether it's what we're doing here in Tallahassee, our first responders, the federal government, we're going to make sure every person in the state is taken care of to the extent we can", Scott said.
"We're not saying get in your vehicle and go", Merrill said.
Hurricane Irma is expected to travel north early this week, with Georgia and SC in the path of impact. But that doesn't mean all Floridians should try to go back home. "We are trying to do everything that we can to get people safe", he said. "I'm hoping they can get a message to us through a neighbor or friend".
A total of nine states in the nation were impacted by Irma.
FEMA Chief Brock Long said he believed the Keys and Collier County in southwest Florida took the brunt of the storm.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster on Sunday night issued a mandatory evacuation for some barrier islands, CNN reported.
The state's largest city, Miami, was spared the brunt of the storm but was still battered.
At least four people were killed by the storm in Florida, and 3.3 million people are now without power. Just days before, the Category 5 Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas, destroying homes and causing record floods.