Tropical Storm Eta has hit Florida, bringing with it heavy rain and strong winds that forecasters fear may lead to storm surges and flash flooding.
Schools, beaches and public transport in much of the southern part of the state were shut before Eta made landfall late on Sunday in Lower Matecumbe Key in the Florida Keys.
Eta has already
wreaked devastation in parts of Central America.
It passed through Cuba before making landfall in Florida.
The National Hurricane Center warned in the early hours of Monday that Eta would bring “strong winds, heavy rains and dangerous storm surge” over parts of South Florida and Florida Keys.
It said the storm had brought maximum sustained winds of 65mph (100km/h), was moving at around 14 mph (22km/h) and is forecast to become a hurricane as it moves over the south-eastern Gulf of Mexico.
As much as 12 inches (300mm) of rain could fall and storm surges could reach as high as 4ft (1.2m), the forecast said.
In preparation for Eta, officials in Miami-Date and Broward Counties, and in the Keys, ordered the closure of all schools, beaches and public transport. Mobile home parks and campgrounds in low-lying areas were also evacuated and shelters open.
“Please take this storm seriously,” Palm Beach County Emergency Management Director Bill Johnson urged residents, adding: “Please don’t drive through flooded roadways.”
Tens of thousands of people were evacuated in Cuba ahead of the arrival of Eta amid warnings of “significant, life-threatening flash and river flooding”. However, state media reported that there had been “no loss of life or significant damage to homes”.
Other parts of the region have not been so lucky.
Some 150 people are dead or missing in Guatemala after dozens of homes were buried by mudslides in the central region of Alta Verapaz. In neighbouring Honduras, at least 10 deaths have been confirmed, with hundreds of people reportedly waiting to be rescued from flooded areas.
Panama has reported 17 deaths and 68 people are missing, Security Minister Juan Pino said. In Mexico, officials in the southern state of Chiapas said the storm had claimed at least 20 lives.