Will Hurricane Irma Hit Tampa? Florida Officials Are Urging Residents To Be Prepared

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A category 3 hurricane was reported to be moving slowly through the Caribbean on Monday with the potential to threaten the southeastern United States later in the week. But will Hurricane Irma hit Florida? While it's too soon to know for certain how, if, or even where Hurricane Irma might affect the continental United States, Florida officials are urging residents to be prepared after the National Hurricane Center announced there was an "increasing chance" some areas of the state would see at least "some impacts from Irma."

"There is an increasing chance of seeing some impacts from Irma in the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Keys later this week and this weekend," the National Hurricane Center said in an update released Monday, "In addition, rough surf and dangerous marine conditions will begin to affect the southeastern U.S. coast by later this week."

No hurricane warnings or watches related to Irma have been put into effect for the continental Unites States as of Monday, and the National Hurricane Center notes has been careful to note it's still too early to determine what direct impact Hurricane Irma might have on that area. "However, everyone in hurricane-prone areas should ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place, as we are now near the peak of the season," the center said.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has echoed a similar message to his state's residents, encouraging everyone to "make sure their Disaster Supply Kits are ready today" in case the storm does sweep through South Florida later in the week. "FL knows how important it is to be prepared. Encourage your loved ones to have a plan ahead of any potential storm," the governor tweeted Sunday.

He encouraged residents to establish a plan and supply kit for natural disasters using tips and information from the Florida Division of Emergency Management. "Disaster preparedness should be a priority for every Florida family," he tweeted. On Monday, Gov. Scott said he was continuing to monitor Hurricane Irma and coordinate with emergency management officials.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Irma was less than 600 miles east of Leeward Islands as of Monday afternoon with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles-per-hour. Hurricane warnings have been put on a series of islands lying at the eastern edge of the Caribbean with hurricane watches issued for the British Virgin Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, Vieques, and Culebra.