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Gov Rick Scott Urges Residents to Prepare as Hurricane Irma Threatens Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Florida — As Hurricane Irma continues its trek through the Caribbean, Floridians prepare for storm’s uncertain landfall.

**UPDATES BELOW**

UPDATE 12 p.m. ET: Another 700k asked to evacuate Florida per the Associated Press

UPDATE 10:30 a.m. ET: Computer models show Irma trekking up Florida’s west coast. However, the EURO and GFS show different predictions as the storm enters northern Florida.

UPDATE 9 a.m. ET: ‘LEAVE NOW,’ Florida Governor Tells 5.6 Million Residents in ‘Irma’s’ Path

Breitbart Texas’ Bob Price has the update here.

UPDATE 8:30 a.m. ET: Due to the numerous updates, a new live wire page has been started. Page will continue to be updated here.  Previous updates will remain available here.

UPDATE 8 a.m. ET: Irma once again a Category 4 hurricane. Winds from within the storm have been reduced to 130 mph.

The National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory has the storm located at 22.6°N 79.6°W, moving west at 12 mph, 225 miles southeast of Miami.

Some of the key updates include the extension of watches and warnings by the National Hurricane Center:

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for…
* Volusia/Brevard County Line southward around the Florida peninsula
to Chassahowitzka
* Florida Keys
* Tampa Bay

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for…
* North of the Volusia/Brevard County Line to the Flagler/Volusia
County line
* North of Chassahowitzka to Suwannee River

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* Flagler/Volusia County Line southward around the Florida peninsula
to Chassahowitzka
* Florida Keys
* Lake Okeechobee
* Florida Bay
* Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus,
Villa Clara, and Matanzas
* Northwestern Bahamas

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* North of the Flagler/Volusia County Line to Fernandina Beach
* North and west of Chassahowitzka to Indian Pass
* Cuban provinces of Holguin and Las Tunas

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* Cuban provinces of Holguin, Las Tunas, La Habana, and Ciudad de
la Habana

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
* North of Fernandina Beach to Altamaha Sound

UPDATE 2 a.m. ET: The National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory has the storm located at 22.3°N 78.2°W, moving west at 13 mph, 275 miles southeast of Miami.

UPDATE 12:45 a.m. ET Saturday: 100 mph sustained winds, with 125 mph gusts for Tampa forecasted.

UPDATE 11:30 p.m. ET: Hurricane Irma regains Category 5 status

The National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory has the storm located at 22.1°N 77.7°W, moving west at 13 mph, 300 miles southeast of Miami.

UPDATE 11:15 p.m. Gov. Kay Ivey (R-AL) has issued an emergency declaration for the state of Alabama anticipating Hurricane Irma’s arrival.

Read the declaration here.

UPDATE 11 p.m. ET: Jeb Bush on Trump Admin Handling of Hurricanes Irma, Harvey: “I Think They’ve Done Well”

More here.

UPDATE 10:15 p.m. ET: FEMA has established a “rumor control page” to help discern fact from fiction.

UPDATE 10 p.m. ET: An estimated 5.6 million people have been asked to evacuate Florida according to the Associated Press ahead of Hurricane Irma.

UPDATE 9 p.m. ET: The National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory has the storm located at 22°N 77.2°W, moving west at 12 mph, 315 miles southeast of Miami.

UPDATE 8 p.m. ET: NBC 6 in Miami has a side-by-side comparison of Hurricane Irma and 1992 Hurricane Andrew. Andrew ended up costing $26.5 billion in damage, the fifth-costliest hurricane in American history.

UPDATE 7 p.m. ET: The National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory has the storm located at 22.1°N 76.5°W, moving west at 12 mph, 345 miles southeast of Miami.

UPDATE 6 p.m. ET: Computer models showing storm now trending a trek up the west coast of Florida.

UPDATE 4:30 p.m. ET: Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn to CNN: “We have never seen a storm like this before in its depth, in its breadth, in its magnitude.”

UPDATE 3:30 p.m. ET: Walt Disney World, other theme parks and resorts to close Saturday through Monday for Hurricane Irma.

UPDATE 2:30 p.m. ET: New EURO computer model has Hurricane Irma tracking even further to the west.

UPDATE 2:15 p.m. ET: Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has expanded the state of emergency coverage area to now include 30 counties in southeastern Georgia.

UPDATE 2 p.m. ET: The National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory has the storm located at 22°N 76°W, moving west at 14 mph, 380 miles southeast of Miami.

UPDATE 1:30 p.m. ET: Florida airports begin to announce closures ahead of storm’s arrival.

  • Miami International Airport: Will close as conditions deteriorate per its website.
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport: Will cease operations at 7:45 p.m. on Friday.
  • Palm Beach International Airport: Will suspend operations after last flight departs at 9:04 p.m. on Friday.
  • Key West International Airport: Airline operations were suspended on Thursday.
  • Orlando-Melbourne International Airport: Will close after the last flight on Saturday.
  • Southwest Florida International Airport (Ft. Myers): Urges travelers to consult with their airline.
  • Orlando International Airport: “All commercial operations at MCO will cease on Saturday, September 9 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Tampa International Airport: “We will cease commercial airline operations at @FlyTPA at 8 pm Saturday. Check with your airline for details on specific flights.”
  • Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport: Remains open, website encourages travelers to check with their airline.
  • St. Petersburg-Clearwater International: Closed on Friday “until further notice.”
  • Daytona Beach International Airport: “The passenger terminal will close 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9. The last flight of the day will be Delta’s 3:15 p.m. departure. Flights on Sunday are canceled.”
  • Gainesville Regional Airport: Urges travelers to check with their airlines.
  • Jacksonville International Airport: Encourages travelers to check with their airlines.
  • Tallahassee International Airport: Encourages travelers to check with their airlines.
  • Destin-Ft. Walton Beach Airport: Expects to remain open through the storm.
  • Northwest Florida Beaches Airport (Panama City): Operations are “normal,” suggests travelers check with their airline.
  • Pensacola International Airport: Expects to remain open unless impacted directly by the storm.

UPDATE: 12 p.m. ET: The National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory has the storm located at 22°N 75.3°W, moving west at 14 mph, 405 miles southeast of Miami.

UPDATE 10:30 a.m. ET: The National Weather Service has created a one-stop website for all things Hurricane Irma.

UPDATE 9 a.m. ET: Florida newspaper front pages continue to warn residents about Hurricane Irma’s arrival.

Miami Herald, 9/8/17

Orlando Sentinel, 9/8/17

Tampa Bay Times 9/8/17

Jacksonville, FL’s Times-Union, 9/8/17

Tallahassee Democrat, 9/8/17

UPDATE 8 a.m. ET: Irma remains a Category 4 hurricane.

The National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory has the storm located at 21.8°N 74.7°W, moving west at 16 mph, 80 miles east of Cabo Lucrecia, Cuba.

UPDATE 7 a.m. ET: Nuclear plants ready for Irma

Politico’s Bruce Ritchie has the story about two of South Florida’s nuclear facilities in the path of the storm —   a St. Lucie plant on Hutchinson Island, eight miles southeast of Fort Pierce and at the Turkey Point plant on Biscayne Bay 24 miles south of Miami.

From Politico Florida:

Utility officials said earlier in the week they were prepared to shut down either or both plants if the hurricane threatens, and they were making preparations this week as the storm approached.

“Turkey Point of course will be closed,” [Gov. Rick] Scott said during a news conference in Hialeah.

“I’ve been talking with FPL — they’re all prepared to do it. We’ve preparing both — to close it, and how to reopen it,” he said.

UPDATE 5 a.m. ET Friday: Hurricane Irma now a Category 4 hurricane.

The National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory has placed storm located at 21.7°N 73.8°W, moving west at 16 mph, 55 miles east of Great Inagua Island.

UPDATE 11 p.m. ET: Parts of Florida are now under a hurricane warning.

The National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory has placed storm located at 21.3°N 72.4°W, moving west at 16 mph, 55 miles east of Great Inagua Island.

The hurricane warning area includes from Jupiter Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Bonita Beach, as well as for the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee and Florida Bay according to the advisory.

A hurricane watch has been extended from north of Jupiter Inlet to Sebastian Inlet and for the west coast of Florida north of Bonita Beach to Anna Maria Island.

UPDATE 10:30 p.m. ET: Man reportedly shot by police at the Miami International Airport according to CBS Miami.

The Miami Herald reported it was described as a “security situation” and law enforcement said it was under control.

The Miami International Airport has been an integral part of the Hurricane Irma evacuation process.

UPDATE 9 p.m. ET: Gov. Rick Scott has closed all K-12 public schools, state colleges, state universities and state offices per a release posted to the governor’s website.

Statement as follows:

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott is directing all public K-12 schools, state colleges, state universities and state offices to close Friday, September 8 – Monday, September 11.

Governor Scott said, “Today, I am directing the closure of all public schools, state colleges, state universities and state offices for their normal activities effective Friday through Monday, to ensure we have every space available for sheltering and staging. Floridians are facing a life-threatening storm in Hurricane Irma, and every family must prepare to evacuate. Our state’s public schools serve a vital role in our communities as shelters for displaced residents and staging areas for hurricane recovery efforts. Closing public schools, state colleges, state universities and state offices will provide local and state emergency officials the flexibility necessary to support shelter and emergency response efforts.”

For detailed shelter information, visit www.fldoe.org/irma and www.floridadisaster.org/info.

UPDATE 8:30 p.m. ET: The National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory has the storm located at 21.1°N 71.8°W, moving west at 16 mph, 90 miles east of Great Inagua Island.

UPDATE 7:45 p.m. ET: Gov. Nathan Deal (R-GA) orders 540,000 Georgia residents to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Irma.

From the Associated Press:

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Georgia’s governor on Thursday ordered nearly 540,000 coastal residents to evacuate inland ahead of Hurricane Irma as authorities warned the storm had the potential to strike as a major hurricane, something the Georgia coast hasn’t seen in more than a century.

“If there’s a freight train coming at you, then you get off the tracks,” said Jason Buelterman, mayor of Tybee Island, a beach community of more than 3,000 residents east of Savannah.

UPDATE 6:45 p.m. ET: The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore: “God help us.”

From the Miami Herald:

Though Cantore hates to be an alarmist, the 53 year old storm tracker believes Irma could be absolutely devastating.

“I have to paint the worst possible scenario,” Cantore admitted. “It would be a disservice to do otherwise. There are dark skies ahead potentially. God help us.”

UPDATE 5 p.m. ET: The National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory has the storm located at 20.9°N 71.1°W, moving west at 16 mph, 45 miles east of Great Inagua Island.

UPDATE 4:20 p.m. ET: The National Weather Service offers some approximate mileages of Hurricane Irma’s distance from Florida population centers.

UPDATE 4 p.m. ET: Map shows a high volume of traffic on Florida’s interstate highways in the middle of the evacuation.

UPDATE 3:30 p.m. ET: Gov. Nathan Deal (R-GA) has issued mandatory evacuations for coastal areas in Georgia from the Florida state line to the South Carolina state line.

UPDATE 3 p.m. ET: ECMWF 12Z suggests a potential westward trek that could impact the entire state from the Florida Keys to Tallahassee.

UPDATE 2 p.m. ET: Gov. Rick Scott has activated a total of 4,000 Florida National Guard troops.

UPDATE 1:30 p.m. ET: President Donald Trump offers praise for the state of Florida’s effort in preparing for Hurricane Irma’s landfall.

UPDATE 12:30 p.m. ET: Mandatory evacuations have now pushed up the coast to Brevard County, FL, some 200 miles north of Miami-Dade County, FL, where Hurricane Irma is anticipated to make landfall.

UPDATE 12 p.m. ET: Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) lobbied colleagues on the floor of the U.S. Senate to approve $15 billion in funding for FEMA as it is set to expire.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

“I urge the Senate, I implore the Senate, I beg the Senate to pass this package,” Nelson said on the Senate floor. “FEMA is stretched, and, of all things, FEMA runs out of money unless we act by tomorrow.”

UPDATE 11:15 a.m. ET: The National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory has the storm located at 20.4°N 69.7°W, moving west at 16 mph, 75 miles east of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

UPDATE 11 a.m. ET: A hurricane watch has been issued for the Florida Keys and south Florida north to Jupiter, FL.

UPDATE 10:30 a.m. ET: “Once in a generation event” – National Hurricane Center Director Richard Knabb

UPDATE 10 a.m. ET: Highlights from Rick Scott’s briefing —

UPDATE 9:25 a.m. ET: Watch briefing live from Hialeah, FL with Gov. Rick Scott.

UPDATE 9:05 a.m. ET: Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) says he and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) are lobbying for aid for Irma damage to be included in the Harvey relief package on CNN’s “New Day.”

UPDATE 9 a.m. ET: The National Weather Service says to expect hurricane watches to be issued for the Florida Keys and South Florida today.

UPDATE 7 a.m. ET: Hurricane Irma continues to dominate front pages of Florida Thursday newspapers, especially along the state’s east coast.

The Miami Herald, 9/7/17

The Orlando Sentinel, 9/7/17

Palm Beach Post, 9/7/17

Daytona Beach News-Journal, 9/7/17

 

Jacksonville’s The Florida Times-Union, 9/7/17

UPDATE 6 a.m. ET: The National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory has the storm located at 20.1°N 69.0°W, moving west at 17 mph, 270 miles east of Grand Turk Island.

UPDATE 1:30 a.m. ET: At least seven have died according to a report from the BBC. Barbuda said to be “barely habitable” and the death toll is “likely to rise”…

From BBC News:

Hurricane Irma has caused widespread destruction across the Caribbean, reducing buildings to rubble and leaving at least seven people dead.

The small island of Barbuda is said to be “barely habitable” while officials warn that the French territory of St Martin is almost destroyed.

With the scale of the damage still emerging the death toll is likely to rise.

UPDATE 12:30 a.m. ET Thursday:  According to the Associated Press, Hurricane Irma is responsible for blacking out in much of Puerto Rico.

NBC News reports an estimated 1 million without power.

UPDATE 11 p.m. ET: The National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory has the storm located at 19.1°N 66.1°W, moving west at 16 mph, 315 miles east of Grand Turk Island.

UPDATE 10:30 p.m. ET: Traffic is backed up on I-75 near Ocala, FL, which is 300 miles north of Miami (where the storm is expected to make landfall). The Weather Channel has the footage.

UPDATE 9:55 p.m. ET: Per Gov. Rick Scott, the Environmental Protection Agency approved an “emergency fuel waiver” to allow more fuel into the state in preparation for Hurricane Irma.

UPDATE 9:30 p.m. ET: Miami Beach, FL now under a mandatory evacuation order.

UPDATE 9 p.m. ET: Law enforcement in the Florida Panhandle now warning travelers to be aware of increased traffic due to evacuations.

UPDATE 8:30 p.m. ET: Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez seeks to dispell the fears of those in the country illegally seeking shelter from Hurricane Irma.

According to the Miami Herald, Gimenez made it known identification would not be checked at shelters.

From the Herald’s Patricia Mazzei:

Immigrants in South Florida illegally should not fear deportation if they seek shelter during Hurricane Irma, according to political leaders who urged the undocumented to heed local evacuation orders.

“We don’t ask anybody for their identification,” Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in a briefing late Wednesday from the county’s emergency operations center in Doral. “Everybody who needs shelter in Miami-Dade County is welcome, and you should do so without any fear of any repercussions.”

UPDATE 7:30 p.m. ET: Amtrak suspends service in Florida.

UPDATE 7:10 p.m. ET: CNBC reports the orange juice market is “going crazy” ahead of Hurricane Irma’s arrival.

As severe Hurricane Irma bears down on the Carribean and the US state of Florida, orange juice prices are rising

From CNBC’s Leslie Shaffer:

Frozen concentrated orange juice futures, the contract made famous in the 1983 Eddie Murphy movie “Trading Places,” spiked higher on Tuesday as Hurricane Irma bore down on Florida.

The Category 5 storm has already set records, with the National Hurricane Center on Tuesday setting its initial intensity at 155 knots, making Irma “the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic basin outside of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico in the NHC records.”

Irma’s course remained uncertain, but many of its potential paths would take it right over Florida.

That sent the ICE frozen concentrated orange juice futures continuous contract spiking up as high as $146.60, from the previous close of $138.60. The contract represents around 15,000 pounds of orange juice solids.

Read more here.

UPDATE 7 p.m. ET: Hurricane Irma longest running Category 5 hurricane since Hurricane Ivan, which made landfall on the Florida Gulf Coast in 2004.

UPDATE 6:10 p.m. ET: Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) applauded Gov. Rick Scott’s handling of Hurricane Irma on Twitter. Nine hurricanes hit Florida during Bush’s tenure as governor, eight of which landed in the Sunshine State in 2004 and 2005.

UPDATE 6 p.m. ET: The National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory has the storm located at 18.8°N 65.4°W, moving west at 16 mph, 55 miles east of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

UPDATE 5:25 p.m. ET: Two have died as Hurricane Irma made its way through St. Barts and St. Martin.

UPDATE 4:30 p.m. ET: The National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory has the storm located at 18.5°N 64.7°W, moving west at 16 mph, 35 miles east of St. Thomas.

UPDATE 4 p.m. ET: Reportedly around 25,000 people have evacuated the Florida Keys.

UPDATE 3:15 p.m. ET: Comcast has opened its Wifi Internet hotspots to the public through next week.

UPDATE 3 p.m. ET: 12Z Euro model show Hurricane Irma making landfall in South Florida and returning to the Atlantic Ocean and making its way north for a second landfall.

UPDATE 2 p.m. ET: South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster declares a state of emergency as the Palmetto State is now in the forecasted path of Hurricane Irma.

UPDATE 1:25 p.m. ET: A story from the Miami Herald warns some Puerto Ricans could be without power for four to six months after Hurricane Irma passes.

In Puerto Rico, the electric company warned the island could be without power for four to six months while the government prepared to open 456 shelters capable of housing more than 62,000 people.

(h/t The Hill)

UPDATE 12:40 p.m. ET: Hurricane Irma’s outer bands are beginning to arrive in Puerto Rico.

UPDATE 12:20 p.m. ET: Watch briefing live from Doral, FL featuring Gov. Rick Scott.

UPDATE 12 p.m. ET: The National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. advisory has the storm located at 18.2°N 64°W, moving west at 16 mph, 65 miles east of St. Thomas.

UPDATE 11:30 a.m. ET: Polk County, FL Sheriff Grady Judd has a stern warning for those with warrants that show up at shelters seeking refuge from Hurricane Irma.

UPDATE 10:30 a.m. ET: According to the Tampa Bay Times, traffic is starting to clog on Florida’s roadways as evacuations are underway.

UPDATE 10 a.m. ET: Scott has deployed additional Florida National Guard Troops, per South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Dan Sweeney.

UPDATE: 9:35 a.m. ET: Watch briefing live from Marathon, FL featuring Gov. Rick Scott.

UPDATE 9:30 a.m. ET: Barclays: Hurricane Irma’s damage could be most ever, topping 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.

CNBC has a report on Barclays warning Hurricane Irma could top Katrina in its damage toll.

“Given the potential magnitude of this storm as well as the potential to impact a highly populated area, we think Irma’s insured damage in Florida could be the largest ever in the US perhaps equivalent to Hurricane Katrina,” wrote Barclays’ Jay Gelb on Tuesday.

UPDATE 8 a.m. ET: Views from NOAA’s Hurricane Hunters’ aircraft give a rare peek of images high above a Category 5 hurricane.

UPDATE 7:30 a.m. ET: Most computer models now have the storm turning north just as it passes over the Bahamas.

UPDATE 7 a.m. ET: Hurricane Irma dominates the front pages of Florida Wednesday newspapers from Miami to Pensacola.

Miami Herald, 9/6/2017

Orlando Sentinel, 9/6/17

Tallahassee Democrat, 9/6/17

Pensacola News Journal, 9/6/17

UPDATE 12 a.m. ET Wednesday: According to a report, the Key West International Airport will be forced to close due to the TSA’s decision not to staff security checkpoints. Key West Mayor Craig Cates called the decision “very disappointing.”

More here.

UPDATE 11:30 p.m. ET: The National Hurricane Center’s 11 p.m. advisory has the storm located at 17.4°N 61.1°W, moving west at 15 mph, 50 miles east of Antigua.

UPDATE 10:30 p.m. ET: In a statement issued late Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott ordered state offices in all of Florida’s 67 counties closed.

Statement as follows:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott directed state offices to be closed in all 67 Florida counties this Friday in preparation for Hurricane Irma. Prior to Friday’s statewide closures, state office closures will follow the direction of county officials and will be announced as they are determined. The Governor also issued a call to state employees across Florida encouraging them to volunteer in support of the state’s emergency shelter mobilization efforts.

Governor Scott said, “Our state workforce is filled with dedicated individuals who go above and beyond every day in service to the families who call Florida home. Ensuring the safety of these hardworking individuals and their families is a top priority, and I am directing all state offices to be closed this Friday so our state employees can fully focus on preparing for this storm and keeping their families safe. I am also asking these talented individuals to consider donating their time and effort to become a certified American Red Cross Disaster Services volunteer to help Floridians in need.

“I have directed all state executive agencies to authorize the deployment of any American Red Cross certified employees willing to volunteer to help in or operate shelters in response to this unprecedented storm. Agency leaders have also been authorized to grant employee volunteers training time in order to become certified if they are not already. We must do all we can to prepare our families and communities for any potential impact from this major weather event, and I appreciate the many volunteers who are gearing up to help our state during this critical time.”

In partnership with the American Red Cross, salaried, non-essential state employees can receive expedited volunteer certifications for disaster services so that they may assist in or operate shelters in response to Hurricane Irma impacts and preparation. Florida law allows Governor Scott to grant full-time, salaried state employees up to 15 days of administrative leave for emergency volunteer efforts through the American Red Cross. All Floridians can register for American Red Cross certifications at VolunteerFlorida.org.

UPDATE 9 p.m. ET: Miami Beach, FL Mayor Philip Levine is urging his residents to evacuate. According to a Miami Herald report, Levine did so at a press conference earlier today.

“I’m personally recommending to our residents that you consider leaving the city of Miami Beach in advance of the evacuation order that we anticipate will be coming from the county mayor,” Levine said.

UPDATE 8 p.m. ET: The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center on Hurricane Irma has the storm at 17.2°N 60.5°W, moving west at 15 mph, 85 miles east of Antigua.

UPDATE 7 p.m. ET: Per the White House’s Tom Bossert, President Donald Trump has declare emergencies in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Florida.

UPDATE 6:45 p.m. ET: NASA offers a breath-taking look afternoon glimpse of Irma.

UPDATE 5:45 p.m. ET: Kristen Clark of The Miami Herald’s Tallahassee bureau reports Gov. Rick Scott has suspended toll collection on Florida’s roadways effective 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

UPDATE 5:30 p.m. ET: The latest computer model tracking still shows most of the models predicting Irma’s northward turn just south of Miami. However, some are starting to show Irma continuing a more westwardly track and turning into the Gulf of Mexico.

UPDATE 5:20 p.m. ET: Scott says Hurricane Irma’s landfall will be unlike anything the state has experienced since Hurricane Andrew’s landfall in 1992 near Homestead, FL.

From FloridaPolitics.com:

“One of the things that I talked with the acting director of FEMA today (Robert Fenton) is ‘don’t wait,’” he told reporters. “But we haven’t had a landfall like this since Andrew,” he said referring to the August 1992 storm, the last Category 5 rainmaker to hit the U.S. mainland.

UPDATE 5 p.m. ET: The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center has Hurricane Irma as a Category 5 storm and will weaken to a Category 4 storm as it makes it way through the Carribbean and into the Florida Keys.

UPDATE 4:30 p.m. ET:  WeatherBELL Analytics meteorologist and Cato Institute adjunct scholar Ryan Maue suggests Hurricane Irma winds could top a record-setting 200 mph.

UPDATE 2:30 p.m. ET: The Miami Herald has made available a list of closures and event cancelations in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties.

UPDATE 1 p.m. ET: The sheriff’s department for Monroe County, FL, which includes the Florida Keys and the extreme mostly uninhabited southwestern corner of the Florida peninsula, has issued a mandatory evacuation order.

UPDATE 11:50 a.m. ET: Scott has activated the Florida National Guard.

UPDATE 11:30 a.m. ET: Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) has called on President Donald Trump to declare a “pre-landfall emergency” for Florida as Hurricane Irma nears.

UPDATE 11:15 a.m. ET: Tropical Storm Jose has formed in the path of Hurricane Irma.

UPDATE 11 a.m. ET: Miami’s WVNN has the latest computer models, which show Hurricane Irma still a threat to the entire state of Florida.

UPDATE 10 a.m. ET: The Weather Channel’s “Threat Index” coverage area now includes from Tampa eastward to Daytona Beach and all points south in the state of Florida.

UPDATE 9 a.m. ET: Miami’s NBC 6 reports emergency operation centers in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties will be activated. Also, the report notes the rush hurricane preparedness supplies and predicts gas prices will continue rise in South Florida.

UPDATE 8:30 a.m. ET: National Weather Service in Key West, FL reports tropical storm force winds from Irma could reach the Florida Keys by Friday.

UPDATE 8 a.m. ET:: Hurricane Irma now a Category 5 storm.

UPDATE 12:45 a.m. ET Tuesday: Latest 00Z GFS model shows Hurricane Irma impacting the entire peninsula of Florida.

UPDATE 11 p.m. ET: Hurricane warnings have issued by the National Weather Service in Miami for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

UPDATE 10 p.m. ET: Both the European Medium Range Forecast and NOAA’s Global Forecast System models have Hurricane Irma near the population centers of South Florida at 8 a.m. ET Sunday morning.

UPDATE 9:30 p.m. ET: Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has activated her office’s price gouging hotline.

UPDATE 8:30 p.m. ET: The Tampa Bay Times reports a hurricane hunter airplane has detected 140 mph sustained winds within Hurricane Irma.

UPDATE 7:30 p.m. ET: Tampa-Sarasota CBS affiliate WTSP reports the NFL is considering moving the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s season opening game scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

UPDATE 7:15 p.m. ET: The Weather Channel’s “Weather Underground” warns everything from Texas to Maine is potentially threatened by Hurricane Irma. However, the specificity is dependent upon Irma’s path through the Carribean, which is influenced by other weather patterns in and around the United States’ mainland.

UPDATE 5:21 p.m. ET: Shortly after the National Hurricane Center classifying Hurricane Irma as a Category 4 hurricane, Scott declared a state of emergency in Florida.

Scott tweeted that all 67 counties in Florida are under the state of emergency.

UPDATE 5 p.m. ET: As of 5 p.m. ET, Irma is a Category 4 hurricane roughly 600 miles east of the Leeward Islands (16.7 N 54.4 W.)

Scott posted a series of tweets over Sunday and Monday regarding preparation for Irma should it continue its northwesterly track and into Florida as some computer models have shown.

The storm is beyond the five-day window that NOAA and NWS officials could predict landfall in the Sunshine State. However, many of the computer models have Irma hitting the Florida peninsula.

Hurricane Irma Computer Models, courtesy of South Florida Water Management District

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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