What We Know About Hurricane Irma So Far And How Broward County Is Preparing
Hurricane Irma has strengthened into a Category 5 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center on Sept. 5.
The storm’s forecast track currently has it near or over Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla by late Tuesday or early Wednesday, and the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Wednesday afternoon. Hurricane Irma could possibly hit South Florida over the upcoming weekend.
Hurricane Irma is the strongest hurricane on record in the Atlantic Basin. Sustained winds are near 180 mph, as of 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
Although Irma’s path is still uncertain, Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency.
Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief held a press conference Tuesday morning to address concerns over the storm. Here are the key takeaways:
- Broward County may experience tropical storm winds as early as Friday evening.
- Pre-storm activities related to sheltering and outreach to residents with special needs is already underway.
- The emergency hotline will be open 24/7 beginning 8 a.m. on Wednesday. Residents can reach the hotline by dialing 311 or 954.831.4000.
- Residents should focus on finalizing their emergency plans and preparing for the storm today.
- If you live in an evacuation zone, determine now where you will evacuate to. Staying with friends or family outside of evacuation zones is the best option.
- Broward County is working with counties in the north and south to prepare in case an evacuation is needed.
- Residents are encouraged to stock up on emergency supplies today, including water and gas.
- Check supplies of important medications for you and your family.
- Consider the special needs of children and pets.
- Do not trim trees at this time. Any items left on the side of the road will pose a threat when wind speed increases as the storm approaches.
- Port Everglades and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport are currently operating normally. Passengers should contact their cruise lines or their airlines directly for updates on trips.
- Stay connected: Text “AlertBroward” to 888.777 to sign up for alerts and text messages related to your zip code.
Update: As of Sept. 5 at 3 p.m. Broward County public schools will be closed on Thursday and Friday.
Update: As of Sept. 5 at 4 p.m., Gov. Rick Scott has activated the Florida Air and Army National Guard and 7,000 members were told to report for duty Friday morning. The tolls for Florida highways will be lifted today at 5 p.m.
Photos via Twitter/7 Weather