florida hurricanes

Joe Raedle / Getty Images via the Miami Herald

The Miami-Dade County shelter for people with special medical needs is full; pre-registration was required and about 2200 people are already in place.

County officials say if people with medical conditions did not pre-register for the special shelter, but are able to get to another shelter that’s not full, they should not be turned away from other shelters and should come prepared with necessary medication and equipment.

Residents who have a complex medical condition and need medical supervision, should call 311 for guidance, according to County Officials.

Associated Press

Just what type of help will the federal government and FEMA be able to provide for Hurricane Irma relief?

On Tuesday evening, President Donald Trump signed an emergency declaration for the 67 Florida counties. The declaration allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to deploy to the field, WLRN reported earlier this week.

Kyra Gurney / Miami Herald

If you’re headed to a shelter in Broward County: leave your king-size mattress and mini-refrigerator at home.

That was the message from Mayor Barbara Sharief on Saturday morning, who said some of the county’s shelters have filled up quickly because people have brought items with them that are larger than their allotted spots in school gyms and cafeterias.

More than 14,000 people have taken shelter in Broward county schools ahead of Hurricane Irma. All but two of the 21 shelters are nearly at capacity or full. The county will continue to open more, if needed.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN News

As projections place the eye of Hurricane Irma farther west, some people have decided to leave the shelter at Falcon Cove Middle School, located in Weston and ride out the storm in their homes.

They’ve been walking out with their water and mattresses on their back.

John Mejia arrived at the shelter Friday night with his family. On Saturday morning, he rolled his blue cooler out of the shelter and packed it into the family van to drive back to their Weston home, built after Hurricane Andrew.

Gina Jordan/WLRN

About four miles from the state emergency operations center in Tallahassee, FEMA is gathering the first responders that will be deployed around Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. 

Emergency medical responders from several states are ready to act, including Lynn Pitts from Stone Mountain, Georgia. She has some advice after working in Texas following Hurricane Harvey.

Monique O. Maddan / Miami Herald

At a shelter in Miami Edison High School on Friday night, Miami's city commissioner Francis Suarez said a new round of shelter openings — including Miami Northwestern High School and Shenandoah Middle School — will help Overtown residents.

Previously, Overtown residents had received mixed messages about whether or not the Booker T. Washington High School would be used as an evacuation shelter. 

And, Suarez says, the ride-sharing company Lyft has given $10,000 to help low-income people throughout the city of Miami evacuate.

Flickr

Irma? There's an app for that.

Officials are encouraging South Florida residents to download smartphone apps for last-minute storm prep and to keep updated during the hurricane and its aftermath.

Among the suggested apps:

Florida Power and Light app: To monitor power outages

Florida 511: For real-time traffic updates

Gas Buddy: Shows gas stations and prices based on location

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Key West has seen a lot of hurricanes over the years — but the island itself hasn't had a direct hit since 1919 (though there were a couple of near misses, with Hurricane Georges moving across the Lower Keys in 1998 and Wilma swamping the island from the west in 2005).

Some islanders attribute that string to the supernatural - the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto.

Dedicated in 1922 by the Catholic community in the Keys to honor Sister Louis Gabriel, the grotto is located next to what is now the Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea. 

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and locally elected officials urged south Floridians to obtain several days worth of food, water and medicine and finish fortifying their homes against Hurricane Irma by Friday evening, before strong winds are expected to arrive.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The slight veer south in the projected track of Hurricane Irma led some Florida Keys holdouts to hit the road Friday.

The entire Florida Keys island chain has been under a mandatory evacuation order for residents since Wednesday evening.

Still, some residents are sticking it out. Including Kerry and Diane Shelby of Key West.

"The entire state of Florida's evacuating. So we looked at both options and it just looked a little too difficult to get out," Kerry Shelby said. "So we decided we were on the good side of the storm, we were going to stay here."

Florida Department of Corrections

The Florida Department Of Corrections has started evacuating some of their smaller facilities in South Florida.

While institutions are stocking up on more water and food supplies, some satellite facilities, community work release centers and work camps are evacuating to other DOC facilities. As of Thursday, 5400 inmates had been evacuated according to Michelle Glady, director of communications for the DOC.

Hurricane Irma, which battered the Caribbean with winds up to 185 mph, has its sights on Florida with winds now around 150 mph. according to the National Hurricane Center.

Those are really strong winds. Imagine speeding down the highway at 70 miles an hour with your car window open. You stick your hand out and hold it in the wind.

Are You In An Evacuation Zone? Here Is How To Know

Sep 8, 2017

As the possibilities of hurricane Irma hitting South Florida increase, authorities are encouraging residents to prepare for a possible landfall. Part of the preparations includes knowing if you live in an evacuation zone and making plans in case you are asked to leave your home. Here is how to know, for all four south Florida counties: Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach.  

Get the latest information about Hurricane Irma at WLRN.org/weather

Traffic jams across the state trapped evacuees for hours Thursday, but Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) chief spokesman Captain Jeffrey Bassainthe says his agency has enough personnel to do the job.

“Well we have over 1,700 troopers staffed, so like I said, all personnel, office personnel, are out of the office, days off have been cancelled and we’re working 12-hour shifts," said Bassainthe. "We want to ensure that we have maximum staffing and that we’re out there to assist the public into helping them get there safely.”

Update: 9/10/17: Gulf, Madison, Taylor and Wakulla County Schools have announced extended closures. FAMU, FSU and TCC will remain closed through Friday.

Original Story: Public schools, colleges and universities will be closed starting Friday through Monday, says Gov. Rick Scott. A change in Hurricane Irma's forecasted path has prompted the closures which is in effect for schools across the state. Some colleges, universities and school districts have announced longer closures.

Pages