Trump speaks to more governors as Irma heads to other states

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Instead, the White House released official photographs showing Mr Trump and his Cabinet members sitting around a conference room table on Saturday afternoon in what it said was a briefing on the "track and potential impact" of the hurricane.

Of course, neither of the guests to which the spokeswoman referred will actually be at the private club once the storm actually hits.

Florida has been pounded hard by what President Donald Trump called "some big monster", as Hurricane Irma tore into the state, leaving a trail of damage and death and causing destruction that will likely take weeks to fix.

Earlier, the country's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said the hurricane would "devastate the United States in either Florida or some of the southeastern states". He said Irma was unsafe and life-threatening, and pleaded with people in the storm's path to "heed the warnings" of local officials.

"Evacuees should move as soon as possible to the homes of friends or family who live outside of evacuation areas", Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in the mandatory order for homes closest to the coast in the county of 2.7 million people.

A man walks down a deserted highway in Miami as Hurricane Irma approaches the state on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017.

The storm is expected to reach Florida on Saturday and its path could take in Georgia and SC.

"We can not save you in the middle of the storm", he added.

Mar-a-Lago, built in the 1920s, has a long history of withstanding hurricanes. "It's gonna be way bigger than [1992's Hurricane] Andrew". "What they've done, I mean, they're going right into that, and you never know".

The Associated Press reported in 2016 that Trump received $17 million from insurance companies for property damage to Mar-a-Lago from storms including Hurricane Wilma in 2005. St. Martin was among the many small islands where Hurricane Irma first made landfall.

Irma, which is now is battering the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico with 185-mph winds, landed in Barbuda earlier today. The storm wreaked havoc on Barbuda, where 95 percent of the island's buildings were left damaged Irma. "We continue to send our thoughts and prayers to victims of Hurricane Harvey and are praying for those that are in the path of Hurricane Irma".