Hundreds of thousands of South Floridians in the path of Major Hurricane Irma have less than 24 hours to make a decision. A decision to find higher ground, a sturdier structure, or hit the highway. Doing nothing is also a decision, but potentially a life-threatening one.
The winds of Irma are strong enough to leave homes and businesses “uninhabitable for weeks”, so says the National Weather Service in Miami. The storm surge will be high enough in some spots to move miles inland. The rain will fall at a rate too fast for drainage systems and waterways to contain. And further inland, tornadoes could spin up very quickly, exacerbating the structural damage and threat to life for anyone not in a safe place.
Former FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate told us during a Facebook Live last night that “This is about as bad as it gets. This storm is bringing everything.” He believes if we wait for “certainty”, it will be too late.
This story is all about the meteorology and potential hazards at various locations throughout the State of Florida, and will be updated throughout the day as we gain a better understanding of how severe the impacts will likely be.
For information on evacuation orders, visit the State of Florida Hurricane Irma Disaster Info page. For help with evacuation zones, routes, and open shelters, our mobile app Florida Storms is a great resource.