After leaving behind a devastating path of destruction in the Caribbean Islands, Hurricane Irma is on track to hit the southern tip of Florida within the next few days. Though the storm has been downgraded from a category 5 to a category 4 hurricane, it is still expected to have a heavy impact on Florida.
Here are some of the latest developments:
Update,1058AM: Congress doubles their hurricane request
Amid some conservative grumbling, Congress sent a $15.3 billion disaster aid package to President Donald Trump for his signature Friday morning.
The bill nearly doubles the original $7.9 billion requested and approved by the House earlier in the week. Senators voted 80-17 in favor of the increase Thursday, making it easier to deal with the immediate emergencies in Texas and Louisiana after Hurricane Harvey and with an eye to the damage expected in Florida and across the southeast as the massive Hurricane Irma draws closer to the coast.
In a deal Trump struck with Democrats, the measure also would provide funding for government agencies through Dec. 8, eliminating the threat of a shutdown when the new federal fiscal year starts Oct. 1.
Update, 1005AM: Governor Rick Scott gives stern warning to Floridians
In a Friday morning press conference, Florida Governor Rick Scott delivered a final warning to Floridians in the path of Hurricane Irma.
“If you’re told to evacuate, leave. Get out quickly,” Scott said. “Do not put yourself or your family’s life at risk.”
Irma reaches Cuba
Hurricane Irma made landfall in Cuba early Friday morning. The storm had been downgraded to a category 4 by the time it reached the island, some 300 miles from Miami, Florida.
The storm has been deadly
Eighteen people have been killed in storm related incidents, according to The New York Times.
It’s not just Florida that should be worried
Residents of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia may not get as much of the storm as Florida, but they aren’t in the clear. Authorities have warned that deadly flash-floods will likely occur in those states through the middle of next week.
The storm is so dangerous that they are shutting down nuclear power plants
“This is an extremely dangerous storm,” Rob Gould, chief communications officer at Florida Power & Light, told reporters ahead of Hurricane Irma’s landfall in Florida. Florida Power & Light operates the only two nuclear power plants in Florida and announced that both would be shut down during the storm.
Don’t believe everything you read about how to prepare for the storm
Things like opening a window to reduce pressure, using a generator indoors, and storing propane in your garage should be avoided.