Hurricane Irma is just a few hours away from slamming into Florida, a nearly empty city, while others live in fear.
When Hurricane Irma slams into Florida in a few hours, the `lawnmower form the sky’ may find a city that is almost empty. The few who are there are living in fear. The hurricane is likely to flatten infrastructure and homes as it moves in.
More than 50,000 people have been moved to about 300 shelters around Florida and about 5.6 million people told to leave their homes in coastal stretches. About 30,000 people in south Florida are living in darkness as power lines have been snapped or cut as a precautionary measure.
Florida Keys evacuated about 460 inmates and 125 corrections officers from a jail on Stock Island, toward the bottom of the archipelago that lies right in Irma’s deadly path.
Florida Governor Rick Scott made one final appeal to residents in South Florida to flee on Saturday as heavy winds and rain began to affect the area. Warning of a dangerous storm surge that could reach 12 feet, Scott said, “This will cover your house. You will not survive all this storm surge. This is a life-threatening situation.”
“If you have been ordered to evacuate, you need to leave now. Do not wait. Evacuate. Not tonight, not in an hour. You need to go right now. Just remember this: Once the storm starts, law enforcement cannot save you,” Scott warned.
Hurricane Irma is about 175 miles away from the mainland. However, the National Weather Service has downgraded hurricane Irma to a category three storm from earlier category 4. But experts say it may regain power as a category four as it moves into the warm waters near south Florida and the Keys.
Earlier, Hurricane Irma slammed into Cuba’s northern coast which took a direct hit early Saturday. Meteorologists measured winds of up to 124 mph before the weather gauge blew off. Waves were reportedly more than 16 feet high, and hospitals, factories, and warehouses suffered major damage.
There were no immediate reports of casualties, but nearly 1 million people were evacuated from Cuba’s northern coast just before Irma hit as a Category 5 hurricane late Friday.