Six dolphins have been spared from the destruction of deadly Hurricane Irma when they were airlifted to safety.

The dolphins - who are from a dolphinarium in Cayo Guillermo, a small island north of Cuba's mainland - were wrapped in wet towels and put in helicopters.

The dolphins were flown to Cienfuegos, a southern province of Cuba where they were placed in swimming pools upon arrival.

Workers carried the sea creatures to a waiting helicopter to be evacuated as Hurricane Irma threatened the area. Photo . AP / Agencia Cubana de Noticias / Facebook
Workers carried the sea creatures to a waiting helicopter to be evacuated as Hurricane Irma threatened the area. Photo . AP / Agencia Cubana de Noticias / Facebook

If Irma prevents them remaining in their current pools, the creatures will then be moved to a salt water pool at a nearby hotel.

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Manager of the dolphinarum, Gonzalo Carrero Escobar, said: "For the moment they have been placed in a swimming pool offering similar conditions to their natural life.

"If the weather situation does not allow us to keep them there, they will be displaced to the salt water swimming pool of a hotel."

On Friday, Hurricane Irma made landfall in Cuba as a Category 5 storm, the highest classification for hurricanes. As of Friday night, at least 24 people were confirmed dead.

Millions fled from Florida in the past two days as the Category 5 storm is set to batter the southern coast of the state.

Miami resident Nina Cohen said: "I haven't seen anything like this, and I have lived in Florida 40 years.

"We all went through Andrew, lost homes, and this is looking worse than Andrew ever did."

A woman and child use a blanket as pA woman and child use a blanket as protection from wind and rain as they walk in Caibarien, Cuba, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. Photo / AP
A woman and child use a blanket as pA woman and child use a blanket as protection from wind and rain as they walk in Caibarien, Cuba, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. Photo / AP

Florida's Governor Rick Scott has said "the storm is here" as the outerbands of Hurricane Irma start to lash the state's southern tip and warned "our state has never seen anything like it".

Governor Scott said time is fast running out for 6.3 million Americans ordered to flee Hurricane Irma and warned them to take shelter immediately or "you will not survive".

"If you have been ordered to evacuate, leave now - not tonight, not in an hour, now," Governor Scott told residents. "This is a deadly storm and our state has never seen anything like it."