Georgia Braces for Storm Surge After Downgraded Irma Causes Record Flooding in Jacksonville, Florida

Irma's rampage across Florida broke records in Jacksonville before heading north to torment Georgia and beyond.

A man kayaks through the flooded streets of the San Marco historic district of Jacksonville, Florida, on September 11, 2017, after storm surge from Hurricane Irma left the area flooded. (Credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

A man kayaks through the flooded streets of the San Marco historic district of Jacksonville, Florida, on September 11, 2017, after storm surge from Hurricane Irma left the area flooded. (Credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Jacksonville, the largest city geographically in the country, is grappling with a record storm surge and immense flooding. The city's Memorial Park has turned into an unrecognizable lake.

"We have very serious, significant river flooding along the banks of the St. Johns River. It's bad now, it's going to continue to get worse," meteorologist Angie Enyedi sad Monday. "We've already surpassed historic levels, the levels will continue to rise."

In one Jacksonville yard, Irma snapped a tree near its roots, sending it crashing onto the car of an evacuee from South Florida.

No one was hurt. The tree at the end of Kristine Garcia's driveway, luckily, didn't fall on her house.

"We're definitely shaken up. We were in shock when we went outside," Garcia, 34, told CNN. "If it would have fallen toward our direction, it would have been a .... mess."

The storm was still hurling violent winds, pummeling cities in northeast Florida that had not expected to feel its full wrath.

Emergency workers in Daytona Beach rescued 25 people with a high-water truck after they were suddenly caught in an onslaught of wind and rain.

Another 125 emergency rescues were made in less than an hour in Orange County, home to Orlando -- an inland city to which many coastal residents had evacuated before the hurricane.

Now, the entire Georgia coast is under a storm surge warning as Irma continues its destructive march north.

No electricity or safe water

Debris is shown strewn along a roadway in the wake of powerful Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Isamorada, a village encompassing six of the Florida Keys. (Credit: Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Debris is shown strewn along a roadway in the wake of powerful Hurricane Irma on September 11, 2017 in Isamorada, a village encompassing six of the Florida Keys. (Credit: Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Irma devastated much of Marco Island, off the southwest coast of Florida, leaving it with no electricity or clean water.

Roommates Zack Forrest and Krock Indigo rode out the storm on the island and likened Irma to a relentless tornado.

"The storm was really intense, it was like a tornado that lasted for an hour and a half," Forrest said.

"No way!" Indigo interrupted. "It was like 5 hours."

By the time Irma finished with Marco Island, she left 15 homes that have either lost their roofs or suffered other severe damage, the fire department said.

The latest developments:

-- Irma continued weakening Monday afternoon as it moved into southern Georgia, the National Hurricane Center said. As of 2 p.m. ET, Irma was centered about 50 miles south-southeast of Albany, with winds up to 60 mph.

-- More than 6.2 million electric customers are without power in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott's office said. FEMA chief Brock Long has said some places won't have electricity for weeks.

-- Storm surge warnings in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina mean "there is a danger of life-threatening inundation," the hurricane center said.

-- More than 17,000 customers have already lost power in Savannah, Georgia.

-- Miami streets turned into raging rivers, and the city's airport is closed because of significant water damage.

Extent of devastation not entirely clear

A lake is hit by Hurricane Irma in Pembroke Pines, Florida on September 10, 2017. (Credit: MICHELE EVE SANDBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

A lake is hit by Hurricane Irma in Pembroke Pines, Florida on September 10, 2017. (Credit: MICHELE EVE SANDBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

Irma made landfall on the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane Sunday, but the full extent of the damage there is still unknown.

That's because some islands are extremely difficult to access. Southbound US Route 1 -- the only road connecting the Keys -- is closed, Florida Keys spokesman Andy Newman said.

Large debris is blocking access, and a 150-foot stretch "has some buckling," Newman said.

On top of that, "there is currently no cell service, no electricity and no water" in most of the Keys, said Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers.

"We are dealing with satellite phones and those landlines that are working to try to get information out," she said.

'It's the worst storm I've ever seen'

A car sits abandoned in storm surge along North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard as Hurricane Irma hits the southern part of the state September 10, 2017 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A car sits abandoned in storm surge along North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard as Hurricane Irma hits the southern part of the state September 10, 2017 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Irma is plowing into Georgia and toward other parts of the Deep South -- Alabama, Tennessee and the Carolinas. But that doesn't mean all Floridians should try to go back home.

"We're asking folks to be patient and remain sheltered in place," said St. Augustine Fire Chief Carlos Aviles.

"Stay off the roads, stay off the streets, let us complete our assessment, clear the roads of water, power lines, trees and then you can get out there and determine what happened to your individual property or your neighborhood," said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler.

Track Hurricane Irma's path

The massive storm triggered evacuation orders for 5.6 million people before it made two landfalls in the state Sunday.

The first was over the Florida Keys, and the second, over Marco Island, left the island without water and power, authorities said.

"It's the worst storm I've ever seen," said Bill South of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

More states brace for Irma

A car sits abandoned during Hurricane Irma in Fort Lauderdale on Sept. 10, 2017. (Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A car sits abandoned during Hurricane Irma in Fort Lauderdale on Sept. 10, 2017. (Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has already declared a state of emergency for all 159 counties as Irma barrels toward the state. Cities as far inland as Atlanta are under a tropical storm watch Monday and Tuesday.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper also declared a state of emergency for all 100 counties in his state ahead of Irma.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued a mandatory evacuation for some barrier islands.

And in Alabama, some city school districts including Birmingham, Huntsville and Auburn planned to close Monday and in some cases Tuesday.

Irma's deadly trail

Before slamming into to the United States, Irma hit Cuba late Friday as a Category 5 hurricane.

On Monday, Cuban state TV announced 10 hurricane related deaths -- meaning Irma killed a total of 36 people in the Caribbean before heading to the US.

This is the first year on record that the continental United States has had two Category 4 hurricane landfalls in the same year.

Last month, Hurricane Harvey devastated much of coastal Texas and killed more than 70 people.