Hurricane Irma continues to crawl along the Florida coast

FLORIDA (NBC News) – Hurricane Irma continues to slowly grind its way up Florida’s West coast after making landfall in the Keys Sunday morning as a powerful Category 3 storm.

Violent winds and driving rains arrived well before the worst of the storm.

18 million or more could feel the effects of the massive storm.  More than 12 inches of rain has already fallen in some parts of south Florida, and storm surges could reach 15 feet.

“This storm surge is absolutely deadly. We’ve prepared, but it’s never enough,” Governor Rick Scott warned.

Officials say the time to flee has passed, and are now telling residents to find a safe spot and remain in place until Irma passes, if possible.

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