We are on St. Pete Beach and still being pounded by tropical force winds out of the west with people here in Pinellas County to the south in Manatee County to the north in Pasco. They're urged to stay inside and stay off the roads.

The wind gusts that we are experiencing are still powerful enough to down trees and power lines. Looking out to the gulf, the swollen waves are crashing to shore with an expected 4-6 ft storm surge expected as Irma passes through.

So still not safe by any measure here as rescue operations and damage assessment has also begun.

On St. Pete Beach, Florida, Jeff Monosso, FOX News.