Published on : Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Governor of Florida Rick Scott declared a statewide emergency in response to Hurricane Irma, a roiling storm that intensified into “an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane” while it moved toward the United States.
Scott activated 100 members of the Florida National Guard and said he had directed all 7,000 members to report for duty on Friday. On Monday, Scott signed an executive order declaring an emergency in each of Florida’s 67 counties, pointing to forecasts at the time warning that Irma could make landfall in the southern or southwestern parts of the state and “travel up the entire spine of Florida.”
As millions across Texas are reeling from the impact of Hurricane Harvey, Irma continues to intensify and prompt increasingly alarming forecasts.
The National Hurricane Center said Tuesday morning that Irma had become a Category 5 storm, with NOAA Hurricane Hunters reporting maximum wind speeds of 175 mph — making it among the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.
While the hurricane centre said Irma’s intensity may fluctuate, it is expected to remain a Category 4 or 5 storm over the coming days. The hurricane centre was blunt about Irma’s potential impact saying that the storm was “extremely dangerous” and “potentially catastrophic.”
The Capital Weather Gang said that Irma’s forecast track shifted to the south and west over the weekend, putting the hurricane on course to approach the Florida Keys by Saturday. While the storm’s exact path is unclear, the Capital Weather Gang’s meteorologists issued similarly unnerving warnings of Irma being “likely to make landfall somewhere in Florida over the weekend” and saying that “the impact could be catastrophic.”
The hurricane’s surging growth has sent many Floridians into familiar pre-storm routines of preparing hurricane shutters, stocking up on supplies and nervously monitoring the news.