Hurricane Irma barrels down on Florida, and residents scramble to prepare

Share
×

Natural Disasters

Hurricane Irma barrels down on Florida, and residents scramble to prepare

Courtney Vernon pauses on the beach in Naples before the arrival of Hurricane Irma into Southwest Florida on September 9, 2017 in Naples, Florida.
Getty Images

Florida is bracing for impact as Hurricane Irma powers towards its coastline. The latest tracking shows Irma as a Category 3 hurricane as it brushes past Cuba, but officials expect it to pick up strength as it approaches Florida.

The Florida Keys and the state's west coast — all the way up to Tampa Bay — are expected to be hardest hit by this hurricane. Meanwhile, the rest of state will also feel its impact.

Government officials have declared mandatory evacuations for the Florida Keys, as well as many other low lying coastal areas in South Florida. Those residents who insist on remaining put are urged to seek emergency shelter.

Residents and government officials across the state continue to prepare for the worst, and Gov. Rick Scott on Saturday declared that the potential storm surge may be deadly.

-With photos from Getty Images and Reuters

  • Southbound lanes of I-95 near the Georgia-South Carolina border are empty as people evacuate north ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma. 

    Southbound lanes of I-95 near the Georgia-South Carolina border are empty as northbound lanes are packed as pepole evacuate ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma September 8, 2017 in Savannah, Georgia.
    Getty Images
  • Hundreds of people gather in an emergency shelter at the Miami-Dade County Fair Expo Center in Miami.

    Hundreds of people gather in an emergency shelter at the Miami-Dade County Fair Expo Center in Miami, Florida, September 8, 2017, ahead of Hurricane Irma.
    Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
  • Dogs sit inside their cages as hundreds of people gather in a pet-friendly emergency shelter at the Miami-Dade County Fair Expo Center in Miami.

    Dogs sit inside their cages as hundreds of people gather in a pet-friendly emergency shelter at the Miami-Dade County Fair Expo Center in Miami, Florida, September 8, 2017, ahead of Hurricane Irma.
    Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
  • President Donald Trump is seen in an official White House handout photo with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L), Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Adviser Thomas Bossert (2ndR) and Vice President Mike Pence (R) as he participates in an Oval Office briefing tracking Irma's approach of toward Florida's coast.

    President Donald Trump is seen in an official White House handout photo with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L), Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Adviser Thomas Bossert (2ndR) and Vice President Mike Pence (R) as he participates in an Oval Office briefing tracking the approach of Hurricane Irma toward the coast of Florida, at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 7, 2017.
    Andrea Hanks | White House | Reuters
  • Inmate trustees from the Brevard County Jail work to fill and load sandbags for residents as people in the area prepare in Meritt Island, Florida.

    Inmate trustees from the Brevard County Jail work to fill and load sandbags for residents as people in the area prepare ahead of Hurricane Irma on September 07, 2017 in Meritt Island, Florida.
    Getty Images
  • People purchase plywood at The Home Depot in Miami. 

    People purchase plywood at The Home Depot as they prepare for Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017 in Miami, Florida. It's still too early to know where the direct impact of the hurricane will take place but the state of Florida is in the area of possible landfall.
    Getty Images
  • Senior keeper Jennifer Nelson walks a cheetah to a shelter at the Miami Zoo. 

    Senior keeper Jennifer Nelson walks a cheetah to a shelter ahead of the downfall of Hurricane Irma at the Miami Zoo in Miami, Florida, U.S. September 9, 2017.
    Adrees Latif | Reuters
  • In Miami Beach, a surfer enjoys the waves churned up by the approaching storm.

    A surfer enjoys the waves churned up buy the approaching Hurricane Irma on September 9, 2017 in Miami Beach, Florida. Florida is in the path of the Hurricane which may come ashore at category 4.
    Getty Images
  • In this U.S. Army handout, Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, prepare at Fort Stewart, Georgia. 

    In this U.S. Army handout, Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, prepare for Hurricane Irma, September 8, 2017 at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
    Getty Images
  • A convoy of utility repair trucks heads south on I-95 in Yemassee, South Carolina. 

    A convoy of utility repair trucks heads south on I-95 in anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Irma September 8, 2017 in Yemassee, South Carolina.
    Getty Images
  • Robert Johnson fills gas containers at a gas station in Miami. 

    Robert Johnson fills gas containers at a gas station in Miami, Florida on September 8, 2017, ahead of Hurricane Irma.
    Gaston De Cardenas | AFP | Getty Images
  • A message reading 'You Don't Scare Us Irma,' is written on plywood being used to cover the windows of a building in Miami Beach.

    A message reading 'You Don't Scare Us Irma' is written on plywood being used to cover the windows of a building as people prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Irma on September 8, 2017 in Miami Beach, Florida.
    Getty Images
  • The skyline is seen as the outer bands of Hurricane Irma start to reach Miami on Sept. 9. 

    The skyline is seen as the outerbands of Hurricane Irma start to reach Florida on September 9, 2017 in Miami, Florida.
    Getty Images
  • In this NOAA-NASA GOES Project handout image, GOES satellite shows Irma as it moves over Cuba and towards the Florida coast as a Category 4 storm in the Caribbean Sea taken at 14:15 UTC on Sept. 9.

    In this NOAA-NASA GOES Project handout image, GOES satellite shows Hurricane Irma as it moves over Cuba and towards the Florida coast as a category 4 storm in the Caribbean Sea taken at 14:15 UTC on September 09, 2017.
    Getty Images