1.3 million people in Florida are under a mandatory evacuation as a Category 4 Hurricane Irma descends upon the Sunshine State. America’s seventh most populated county of 2.7 million people — Miami-Dade — is one of the several southern counties seeing evacuation orders, according to ABC News.
Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott warned residents, "If you're in an evacuation zone, you've got to get out; you can't wait. This thing's coming. It looks like it's going to go right through the middle of our state."
The projected trajectory of the storm over the Everglades, which stretch from the western shore of the southern tip of the Florida peninsula to Miami on the eastern shore, is particularly worrying because hurricanes usually dissipate over land. The Everglades, though, are mostly water. This could cause hurricane-force winds to blow straight across the entire tip of Florida.
A massive storm surge also threatens residents in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach metro areas where many new developments have been built right to the ocean’s edge, according to Mashable. Plus, most of the populated land in those areas sits just a few feet above sea level. A predicted storm surge of 5 to 10 feet in height is easily higher than street level.
Further north, the coastal cities of Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina are also in danger of storm surge. President Trump declared a state of emergency in Georgia on Friday, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Trump did the same in South Carolina, according to The Post and Courier. Nearly 540,000 people were ordered to evacuate some coastal regions of Georgia, according to Weather.com.
Effects from Irma are expected to be felt by Saturday in Florida, according to AccuWeather. The eastern side of the state is expected to feel a more direct blow than the western side as conditions worsen into Sunday. The hurricane is predicted to travel straight through Georgia, affecting all the surrounding states.
Watch live, up-to-date coverage and videos of the storm’s progress on Fox 10 Phoenix:
Please pray for those in the path of the storm and those already affected by it! Meanwhile, an Oscar-winning celebrity says she knows who is truly to blame for Hurricane Irma striking the U.S.