"There's devastation", Scott told a press conference following an aerial tour of the archipelago, which was the first part of the United States to be struck by Irma while it was still a Category Four hurricane.
Tampa Bay is particularly vulnerable because the bay acts as a funnel for storm surges, forcing water into narrow channels with nowhere else to go.
Expected to be even more risky than the powerful winds are the storm surges that threaten Florida's coastal cities.
The south to north scenario along a coastline that Irma seems to be taking has always been seen as the most problematic for Floridians because of the few places it leaves for residents to flee from the storm.
"If Tampa stays on the east side of the eye, we expect the storm surge to be worse than if the eye moves inland and the west side of the storm hits it", he said.
More than six million homes and businesses remained without power on Tuesday in Florida and thousands were still displaced as the full scale of the damage left by Hurricane Irma was revealed.
"We know we have many people who want to get off the island, as we have no power, and many, manty more trying to get on the island", Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman said. We've got roads that are impassible still across the state.
The NWS has urged those exposed to Irma to stay indoors, hunker down away from windows, and to use "whatever you have to try and protect yourself from flying debris". "We all sort of scattered around the country when we evacuated, so we're trying to stay in touch", said Suzanne Trottier, who left her Key West, Florida, home for Virginia nearly a week ago ahead of Irma. St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue has also suspended emergency services due to risky weather conditions.
- About 68,000 homes were without power late Tuesday morning after Tropical Storm Irma blew through overnight. For days, forecasters had warned Irma was taking dead aim at Florida.
But on Saturday, all that changed when Irma's course shifted. It's now bearing down on the Tampa-St.
Forecast models had anticipated Irma turning north earlier than it did, Jones said. It then rounded Florida's southwestern corner and hugged the coast closely as it pushed north.
"My family only started to worry when the path of the storm started to turn west", Duncan said.
"We're going to go to an interior hallway to be safe".
Irma's threat prompted Tampa officials to order a 6 p.m. curfew for Sunday evening.
"Once this system passes through, it's going to be a race to save lives and sustain lives", Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long said on Fox News Sunday. "This is what we do".