The Southern states on the East coast are being instructed to brace for Hurricane Irma, a beast of a storm that has already devastated several of the Caribbean islands.
On Wednesday Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned residents to prepare for the worst.
“We’re going to have wind, rain, and storm surge,” said Scott on ABC’s Good Morning America. “We don’t know where it will hit, likely Fort Myers and Naples, as is Miami. The Keys are already evacuating.”
He urged the people of his state to take the storm serious and that “water could cover your house, so I want everybody to understand the importance of this. This is bigger than Andrew.”
Mandatory evacuation orders have gone out for all of Key West, parts of the Miama area and everything east of Route 1, up the coast of Florida through Broward county (the PB Post office is literally face Route 1 on the west side).
“It will have more storm surge than Andrew and it sure looks like it will barrel right down the middle of the state of Florida,” said Scott.
As of Wednesday, Irma was still a category 5 with winds from 185-120 mph. 95% of Barbuda was been damaged by the storm. Current predictions are that Irma will hit the Miami area as a Category 4. The track is unkown but local responders are preparing for the worst.
As millions in Texas are still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, those in the Florida Keys are being evacuated. There are 80,000 residents that live on these Florida islands.
Areas of Miami Dade county, which has 2.7 million residents, and Broward (the county just north of Miami) have been evacuated as well.
“This hurricane is far too powerful, poses far too great a threat, for us to delay actions any further,” said Carlos A. Gimenez, Miami-Dade Mayor on Tuesday afternoon. “I would rather inconvenience our residents on this occasion than suffer any unnecessary loss of life if in fact we are hit by Hurricane Irma. It is still too early to know if we will take a direct hit.”
But the journey to evacuate won’t be an easy one
“South Florida’s three big counties — Dade, Broward and Palm Beach — last year surpassed 6 million in population for the first time, and routes out of the area are impeded by the Everglades and vast swamps just inland of the inhabited regions. The main routes north are Interstate 95 and the Florida Turnpike. The main route west is Interstate 75 — the so-called “Alligator Alley” — but that takes South Florida’s residents to the imperiled southwest coast of the state. If the storm does track up the state’s spine, as Scott noted, that could make evacuations extremely complex,” writes MSN.
Even if South Florida doesn’t get a direct hit, Irma is 500 miles long, so the state is bound to experience parts of the storm. The last hurricane to make landfall in Florida was Hurricane Wilma back in October 2005 and it was a category 3.
Forecasters are labeling Irma as one the strongest Hurricanes to form in the Atlantic and it is expected to remained as a Category 4 or 5 over the next few days.
“Hurricane Irma’s magnitude compares to no other weather system in the recorded history of Puerto Rico. … We have expended substantial resources in preparation for this disaster and without the assistance of the federal government, the local communities will be unable to recover effectively,” said Ricardo Rosselló Nevare,” governor of Puerto Rico.
The Trump administration is ready to respond to the impending natural disaster and the president declared emergencies in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“Just like in Texas, the response to Irma is going to take all levels of government and the whole community,” said William “Brock” Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “This has the potential to be a catastrophic storm.”
If Irma does make landfall, it will be the second major storm to hit this hurricane season, setting a first-time record.
Editor’s note: We are located in South Florida, we are expecting strong storm Saturday night, hurricane weather all day Sunday. This could be brutal.
Reports of shortages and hardships in the South Florida area are way overblown by the media at this point. The pre-response by emergency planners in this area (some of the best in the world), has been amazing and Governor Scott has worked hard to keep fuel and water flowing into the area. Gov Scott and President Trump have already coordinated FEMA response resources for the area.
We are as ready as we can possibly be.