Irma’s Latest Forecast Path Puts Florida’s West Coast in Danger

hurricane shelter in Florida WFLA

Hurricane Irma is forecast to come ashore in south Florida as a Category 4 early Sunday morning. 

More than 20 people were reported dead from Irma in the Caribbean, and more than 6 million people in Florida and Georgia were instructed to evacuate. Many of the evacuation orders were mandatory.

Winds were reported at about 155 miles per house as Irma was along the coast of Cuba overnight.  As the morning progressed, winds were down to 130 miles per hour. 

Irma was forecast to be a Category 3 hurricane by the time it reaches Tampa.  Hurricane warnings and storm surge warnings were in effect Saturday morning for the southern counties of Florida including Miami and Tampa.  Hurricane watches were in effect for many northern counties of the state.

WFLA reported overnight, “The hurricane shelter at Wesley Chapel High School [in Pasco County] is filled to capacity and people are being turned away.”

That particular shelter would prioritize persons with medical needs.

People in Pasco County were told they should first attempt to find shelter with neighbors, relatives or friends before coming to one of the count’s other shelters.

Traffic cameras along Interstate 75 in Hillsboro County near Florida’s west coast showed traffic moving smoothly Saturday morning. 

However, Governor Rick Scott said, “If you’re not on the road on the west coast by noon, you’re gonna have trouble getting out.”

The Tampa airport was filled Saturday morning with travelers looking to get out before the storm.  It was set to close at 8:00 p.m. with no word yet on when it would re-open.

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