‘Ride or die’ in South Florida as storms hit, flooding hits home
Hurricane Irma, with its eye-watering winds and tropical storm-force winds, is hitting South Florida and parts of Florida’s central Gulf Coast.
With record-breaking storm surges and powerful winds, the National Weather Service issued a mandatory evacuation order for parts of Palm Beach County.
The order will take effect Sunday.
The storm is expected to bring torrential rain and high winds to the Sunshine State, as well as heavy flooding and landslides, according to the National Hurricane Center.
At least five deaths were reported as of Monday morning, with another three missing, according the Florida Department of Health.
A number of shelters are set up across the state, and thousands of residents are being urged to get to shelters or to go to home.
Residents are being advised to stay in their homes and evacuate to the nearest shelter or other safe location.
In the Orange County, Florida, community of St. Johnsville, residents were asked to shelter in place Monday night as the area received about 50 millimeters of rain, the county said in a news release.
Residents in the area were being told to evacuate if it is safe.
An aerial view of the flooded area in St. John’sville, Florida.
Rick Scott announced the state was now in a mandatory state of emergency after Hurricane Irma’s eye-piercing winds and winds of at least 150 miles per hour hit the Sunshine state.
Scott said he ordered the mandatory evacuation orders because he could not find the resources to meet the needs of the state.
He said the order will help residents of all Florida communities.
“I am thankful that the National Guard and the Florida State Police have joined us in the fight to keep the Florida Keys safe from a potential catastrophic storm,” Scott said in the news release, adding that the state’s state parks were also being closed and people are being asked to evacuate.
Hurricane Irma could bring up to a foot of rain to the Florida peninsula and southern Florida as it approaches the coast, according a forecast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Irma is forecast to bring up a storm surge of more than 1 foot to the coastal areas of the Florida islands, including Key West, the central Keys and St. Croix, according an NCAAS forecast released Sunday.
It is expected the storm surge could reach up to 2 feet in parts of the St. Thomas and St Thomas Island areas, according NCAES.