Hurricane Irma is an "overwhelming storm," and residents must heed the warnings of local officials, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told CNBC in a phone interview Friday.
"One thing that's important to note is that after the storm, more deaths occur than before the storm," said Bush, who saw nine hurricanes hit the Sunshine State as governor.
"A lot of times people get on the streets, into flooded areas, and they may get electrocuted, there may be other issues — so people need to continue to heed the warnings of local officials post-storm as well," he added in a "Squawk Box" interview.
Irma drove toward Florida on Friday as it punished Caribbean islands with devastating winds and torrential rain, leaving behind 14 deaths and catastrophic destruction. Forecasters say it was heading for the Bahamas before moving to Cuba. It's expected to slam into South Florida on Sunday.
Florida state and local officials have learned a lot from years of previous hurricanes, Bush said. That experience has remained, he added.
"There's a lot of information, quality information, for people to make the decision whether to evacuate or take shelter," Bush said. He said he's making preparations to safeguard his Miami area home and his family, adding he plans to shelter in place.
Although many South Florida residents are being told to evacuate, Bush said: "There's a lot of information, quality information, for people to make the decision whether to evacuate or take shelter."