In a few days, Hurricane Irma will potentially make landfall on U.S. soil and is expected to get close to the state of Florida. Though experts had previously characterized the storm's forecast as not concrete enough to warrant panic in the United States, Irma strengthened into a category 4 storm on Monday, making it a much more concerning threat. Along with wondering whether Florida as whole has much to worry about, you might be asking if some of its biggest attractions, like Orlando Studios, will be affected by Hurricane Irma.
At the moment, it's still too early to tell if the storm will indeed make landfall in the United States at all, but Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in all of the state's counties nonetheless.
“Hurricane Irma is a major and life-threatening storm, and Florida must be prepared,” Scott said in a statement. "Today, given these forecasts and the intensity of this storm, I have declared a state of emergency for every county in Florida to make certain that state, federal and local governments are able to work together and make sure resources are dispersed to local communities as we get prepared for this storm."
The governor added that while Irma's exact path is not "absolutely known" as of yet, the hurricane's strength warrants preparation just in case.
Gov. Scott's decision came soon after the governor of Puerto Rico, which is expected to be hit on Tuesday, declared a state of emergency. The Dominican Republic and Cuba are also expected to be impacted by Irma on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Members of the U.S. Coast Guard, who have been busy with Hurricane Harvey rescue efforts in Texas, have started to return to their home bases. And those from Florida are preparing for Irma. Chuck Caracozza, a Miami meteorologist at National Weather Service, warned that Floridians must start taking precautions. “For people in South Florida, now is the time to start preparing and getting those hurricane kits in order,” he said.
Hurricane Irma comes a little over one week after Hurricane Harvey left the Texas Gulf Coast devastated. Also a category 4 storm, Harvey caused more than 30 fatalities and billions of dollars worth of damage.
Though he has yet to speak publicly about Hurricane Irma, President Donald Trump spoke with Gov. Scott on the phone prior to the governor's decision to call a state of emergency.