Hurricane Irma is once again forecast to hit the Florida Keys as a Category 5 storm, as more than a million people have fled its path and abandoned their homes. Meteorologists expect the powerful hurricane to hit the Sunshine State between 5am and 7am ET on Sunday.
“Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.” Isaiah 29:6 (KJV)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Hurricane Irma is a little more than twice the size of the state of Florida, so there is no portion of the state that will remain unmolested by her wrath. Wind gusts are currently being recorded at 190 MPH. Here in Saint Augustine, America’s oldest city, the heavy pre-hurricane rains have already started and our sea level streets are beginning to flood. Irma is still 2 days away. If you live in Saint Johns county in either Zone A or B, you must evacuate now.
‘Obviously Hurricane Irma continues to be a threat that is going to devastate the United States,’ Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said at a press conference Friday morning. ‘We’re going to have a couple rough days.’
The storm was first downgraded from a Category 5 to a Category 4 earlier on Friday morning, but as of 5pm ET on Friday, it is predicted to hit the U.S. as a Category 5. This will only be the fourth time ever a Category 5 has hit US mainland.
As of 6.30pm ET Friday, the hurricane is moving west at 12 mph and located 345 miles southeast of Miami.
Government officials along with the National Hurricane Center have cautioned that Irma is ‘extremely dangerous’ with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph. That’s strong enough to bring down power poles, uproot trees and rip the roofs off of homes.
Hurricane Irma: Live updates
In preparation for what is predicted to be the most powerful hurricane to hit the United States in years, an estimated 1.4million people have been given mandatory evacuation orders in both Florida and Georgia.
Apocalyptic scenes are playing out across the Sunshine State, as more than a million people flee Hurricane Irma’s wrath. Florida Gov. Rick Scott is telling residents in the southern coastal evacuation areas to leave by midnight.
‘If you are planning to leave and do not leave tonight, you will have to ride out this extremely dangerous storm at your own risk,’ Scott said at a Friday press conference.
He also urged residents on the Gulf Coast to take evacuation orders seriously since Irma’s path has moved slightly west.
‘You are not going to survive this if it happens,’ Scott said. ‘Now is the time to evacuate.’
The forecasts show that dangerous storm surges could begin as early as Saturday night before the storm even hits Florida.
It’s then expected to track directly up the state, crossing the state line into Georgia early next week.
Hurricane Irma killed at least 24 people in the Caribbean and left thousands homeless as it devastated small islands in its path. And it’s already proved deadly in the U.S. A man installing hurricane shutters on his Florida home fell off a ladder and died on Thursday.
The National Hurricane Center issued hurricane warnings for the Keys and parts of South Florida and Lake Okeechobee. It added a storm surge warning and extended watch areas wrapping around much of the peninsula.
For Irma, forecasters predicted a storm surge of 6 to 12 feet above ground level along Florida’s southwest coast and in the Keys. As much as a foot of rain could fall across the state, with isolated spots receiving 20 inches.
Scott has been pleading with his citizens all week to evacuate if they are ordered to, and to prepare – no matter the direction of the storm. source