Irma fears prompt more mandatory evacuations for Florida
by Leigh Jones
Posted 9/08/17, 11:00 am
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has ordered all schools, from elementary schools to colleges, closed Friday through Monday so they can serve as shelters for those fleeing Hurricane Irma. The massive storm, downgraded slightly overnight to a Category 4, should make landfall in South Florida early Sunday morning. Forecasters warn that winds, likely to clock in at more than 150 miles per hour, will cause widespread property damage as they lift roofs and toss debris through the air. Officials also say the storm surge will inundate coastal areas that don’t usually flood—with as much as 10 feet of water. Scott ordered mandatory evacuations for communities south of Lake Okeechobee due to fears of flooding around the Herbert Hoover Dike. Irma is wider than the entire state of Florida, and officials expect inland communities also will suffer extensive damage. The governor earlier ordered mandatory evacuations for the Florida Keys and some low-lying parts of Miami. In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal ordered a mandatory evacuation for the historic coastal city of Savannah. Irma left at least 16 dead as it raked over islands on the Caribbean. Those in its direct path are described as having “apocalyptic” damage. And St. Martin, St. Barts, and the Virgin Islands will get another battering Saturday from Jose, a Category 3 hurricane barreling into the area.
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Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the news editor for The World and Everything in It and reports on education for WORLD Digital.