No dispute exists regarding Hurricane Irma’s arrival in Florida this weekend. Early Saturday, the first tropical storm winds will begin to batter Miami and surrounding coastal cities with a full-on landfall expected by Sunday morning at the latest. The Category 4 storm is currently packing 150+ mph winds (like Hurricane Jose, which will tear through the Caribbean). Florida Governor Rick Scott has begged residents to heed evacuation orders, along with the Miami Beach mayor, who calls this a “nuclear” storm. CNN now reports that Irma could re-intensify to Category 5 status once more before hitting the Florida Keys — where it’s almost too late for people to evacuate…
The National Weather Service is now issuing a dire warning for holdouts in the Keys. Mandatory evacuations began days ago for both tourists and residents, but not everyone has heeded those repeated calls. So, here come the all-caps “THIS IS AS REAL AS IT GETS” and “NOWHERE IN THE FLORIDA KEYS WILL BE SAFE” alarm bells.
Let’s hope those who haven’t yet departed the Keys are able to do so. There’s only one highway that leads to the U.S. mainland, and flights will certainly be limited commodities throughout the weekend. Be safe, everyone.
UPDATE: The Associated Press reports officials have asked at least 5.6 million Florida residents to evacuate certain areas in the direct path of Irma.
We will, of course, continue to provide hurricane updates as they arrive.