Hurricane Irma Last 24 Hours: Updates You May Have Missed
Hurricane Irma is still a monster Category 5 storm heading towards central Florida and efforts are underway to evacuate as many Floridians as possible. Florida state officials are advising residents to evacuate as Irma is expected to blanket the entire state will hurricane force winds.
Below are where Hurricane Irma has been, what it has been doing the past 24 hours and forecasts you may have missed.
NWS says Hurricane Irma will hit central Florida
The National Weather Service (NWS) released the latest hurricane advisory this morning and warned that Category 5 storm Irma is on line to hit Florida directly Sunday morning.
Still packing a frightening 150 mph wind, Irma is currently at about 270 miles or 435 kilometers east of Cuba and 405 miles or 655 kilometers southeast of Miami. Irma is moving WNW at 14 miles or 22 kilometers per hour packing a minimum central pressure of 927 mb.
With this latest advisory, NWS said the Storm Surge Warning has been extended from Jupiter Inlet northward to Sebastian Inlet and from Bonita Beach northward to Venice.
A Storm Surge Watch has also been issued from north of Sebastian Inlet to Ponce Inlet. The Hurricane Watch has been extended northward along the east coast of Florida to the Flagler/Volusia County Line, and along the west coast of Florida to Anclote River.
Gas shortage hits fleeing Floridians
Floridians fleeing Hurricane Irma are having difficulty filling their tanks for the trip. Up and down the state, residents report most gas pumps are empty and they are not able to get the gas they need for the trip.
Georgia is in the eye of Hurricane Irma
The state of Georgia is in the eye of Hurricane Irma. Officials expect Irma to weaken to Category 1 with sustained winds of 90 mph by the time it gets to Georgia but the storm will still have the capability to dump several inches of damaging rain on parts of the state.
An updated prediction released by the National Hurricane Center a few minutes ago indicates that as Irma shifts west, the city of Atlanta and North Georgia could face harsher conditions by Monday next week. It should weaken to a tropical storm and bring winds between 45 and 50 mph to Atlanta while North Georgia should see at least 60 mph winds, according to forecasts.
Georgia governor Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency in 30 counties.
“There likely will be tropical storm winds in metro Atlanta, heavy rain and the increased risk of tornadoes,” Georgia’s TV Channel 2 meteorologist Brad Nitz said.
Congress approves $15 billion
U.S. House of Representatives earlier today joined the Senate in approving a $15 billion aid package for hurricane victims in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and other affected states. Experts however, say that is just a drop in the bucket as the amount needed to make victims whole will likely dwarf the amount approved.
Damages in Texas and Louisiana from Hurricane Harvey alone is expected to cost up to $180 billion. Add damages from Irma and you could be looking at over $300 billion, according to experts.
FEMA: Irma will be devastating
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long warned this morning that Hurricane Irma will be devastating to the United States.
“Obviously Hurricane Irma continues to be a threat that is going to devastate the United States,” Long said at a press conference Friday morning. “We’re going to have a couple rough days.”
Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for barrier islands, coastal communities, low-lying areas and mobile homes across Florida, including in Brevard, Broward, Collier, Indian River, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach and St. John’s counties. Experts estimate that roughly 1.2 million Florida residents have been ordered to evacuate.
Florida Gov.: ‘You’ve got to get out’
Florida governor Rick Scott is warning residents that Hurricane Irma’s storm surge “can kill.”
“You’ve got to listen to your local officials — this storm surge can kill you,” Scott said. “My biggest concern is people don’t understand the amount of potential storm surge. This can cover homes. And we just haven’t seen this. We didn’t see this in Andrew.”
The governor confirmed that the state is working with U.S. Department of Energy to bring in more fuel to the state plagued by shortages. “We’re doing everything we can to get gas into these stations so people can evacuate.”
in Florida, police officers now escort fuel trucks through evacuation routes to gas stations and Gov. Scott is urging gas stations to remain open for as long as is humanly possible.
“I’ve been telling everybody you’ve got to listen to your local officials. If they say evacuate, get out then. Don’t wait because the highways are going to get busy. We’re already seeing more traffic coming through — all the way up through [Interstate] 75 and 95 — so get ready. Be prepared, have a plan, and get out when they say to get out.”
Turks and Caicos feel the brunt of Irma
Hurricane Irma brushed past low lying Turks and Caicos this morning and left devastation in its wake.
This storm is as large as the nation of France and it is ravaging small islands in the Atlantic Ocean with ferocity. Barbuda, St. Martin and the British and U.S. Virgin Islands have felt the force with trees being ripped down and homes and hospitals flattened.
“The eye of Irma should continue to move westward away from the Turks & Caicos Islands and toward the southeastern Bahamas this morning,” the National Hurricane Center said.
“The core of the hurricane will then move between the north coast of Cuba and the Bahamas during the next day or two, and be near the Florida Keys and the southern Florida Peninsula Sunday morning.”
Florida highways bogs down
If you are still in your Florida home but wants to evacuate, the window may be closing for you to do so. Highways around Florida are bogged down as many residents who had been waiting to see if Hurricane Irma will miss the state have decided its time to evacuate. Add the lack of fuel and you have a mess on the highways.
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