The National Weather Bureau reported winds of 120 mph in Key West, Florida’s most southern city this morning.
Irma went down to a level 3 storm when hitting Cuba and upon leaving Cuba across the sea toward Florida it again intensified to a level 4 storm. It is now following a more westerly route than previously thought and hit western Florida instead of eastern Florida. Eastern Florida will still have strong winds and more rains but they will not be hit with a storm surge which is when the winds whip up a wall of water from the sea which surges up on the land and is very destructive in a very short time.
6.3 million people were asked to evacuate and millions have already done so. Florida Governor Rick Scott said: “You are asked to leave the area. This is your last chance to make the correct decision. If you received evacuation orders do it immediately. Not tonight and not in an hour. Do it now! This a deadly storm that who’s likes our state has never seen.” The governor also told the residents not to rush back after the storm passes.
75,000 people are already in 400 public shelters which accepted those unable to evacuate out of the area.
President Trump said in a recorded message that he publicized in Twitter: “Hurricane Irma is of epic proportion, perhaps bigger than we have ever seen. Be safe and get out of its way, if possible. The Federal Government is ready! He also tweeted; Get out of the storm path and don’t worry about property loss. Property can be replaced, human life cannot. Safety comes first.”
In another tweet he said: “The U.S. Coast Guard, FEMA and all Federal and State brave people are ready. Here comes Irma. God bless everyone!”
Irma already claimed at least 25 lives in the Caribbean Islands. Cuba also suffered greatly though there are no reports of deaths.