Syndicated from GANNETT Syndication Service
The monstrous storm is forecast to slam South Florida this weekend.
Hurricane Irma was downgraded to a Category 3 storm Saturday, as its eye inched closer to South Florida. It’s still expected to hit the state as a Category 4 on Sunday.
The storm has killed at least 20 people since roaring out of the open Atlantic and chewing through a string of Caribbean islands. Governors of four Southeast states have declared states of emergency ahead Irma’s arrival on the U.S mainland.
Here is what we know:
Where is Hurricane Irma now?
As of 5 p.m. ET Saturday, the center of Irma was located 115 miles southeast of Key West and was moving to the west-northwest at 9 mph. Irma is forecast to regain strength and approach the coast of Florida as a Category 4 hurricane, with winds of 140 mph.
When will Irma hit Florida?
The storm is forecast to hit the Sunshine State early Sunday. The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning for both coasts of the peninsula up through central parts of the state.
Homestead, Fla. resident Lucy Villasenor and Yanell Roacha wait to enter Ray V. Pottorf Elementary School in Fort Myers with her family. It is a shelter for those fleeing Hurricane Irma, offering a safe haven for pets as well.
Where will Irma hit Florida?
The worst of Hurricane Irma is now forecast along the west coast of Florida after its track shifted overnight. Irma will act like a giant buzzsaw as it plows up the state’s west coast into Monday, battering cities such as Key West, Naples, Fort Myers, Sarasota, and the Tampa-St. Pete area with hurricane-force winds, torrential rain, and devastating storm-surge inundation. “This will be the worst single hurricane to hit Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992,” said meteorologist Joel N. Myers, head of AccuWeather.
The Interstate remains empty as the outer bands of Hurricane Irma reached South Florida early Sept. 9, 2017 in Miami. Gov. Rick Scott is urging anyone living in an evacuation zone in southwest Florida to leave by noon as the threat of Hurricane Irma has shifted west.
Read more at USAToday