Friday, September 25, 1998 Published at 18:53 GMT 19:53 UK
Hurricane Georges hits Key West
Strong waves have been crashing onto the streets of Key West
More than 750,000 people have been told to leave their homes in southern Florida, which is now feeling the full force of the hurricane.
Islands residents believe the worst of the storm is yet to come. Tens of thousands left before the hurricane hit but many chose to stay.
On its way through the Carribean Georges killed more than 200 people over five days. Power has been cut to the lower keys, including Key West, but there have not yet been any reports of casualties.
A hurricane warning was posted for the Keys and the Gulf Coast north to Longboat Key, about 40 miles (64 kilometres) south of Tampa.
The storm is expected to strengthen over the Gulf of Mexico and head towards the northern gulf coast. A hurricane watch was posted from St. Marks in the Florida Panhandle west to Morgan City, Louisiana.
In southern Florida, a state of emergency has been declared where nearly five million people have been put on alert for hurricane conditions.
"We are as ready as we can be, and we pray that the human and material cost will be limited," President Bill Clinton said.
Tourists were ordered to leave the Florida Keys on Tuesday, and 80,000 residents were told to evacuate the lower Keys on Wednesday.
The island chain is not considered safe during severe hurricanes because a strong tidal surge would put much of the low-lying islands under water.
Four Florida counties - Monroe, Dade, Broward and Collier - posted hurricane warnings on Thursday. Another five further north may be at risk within 36 hours.
Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas called for the evacuation of all mobile homes in the county and barrier islands, and inland low-lying areas that are prone to flooding.
Broward County also advised mobile home residents to evacuate.
After causing widespread destruction in the Caribbean islands, the storm lost some strength after battering Hispaniola, the mountainous island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic.