Miami Beach deserted ahead of Irma’s landfall.
Thursday night September 7, 2017 the forecast track for Hurricane Irma was aiming for Miami; Friday afternoon at about 2:00 p.m. EDT the hurricane track center is aiming for the Everglades west of Miami and a track that aims north through Central Florida about half way between Orlando and Tampa — mainly Lakeland Florida in Polk County.
Hurricane Irma strengthened very slightly with sustained winds of 155 mph at 2:00 p.m. on approach to South Florida. Irma is still a Category 4 storm, though the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale lists, but its sustained winds were only 3 mph shy of a Category 5 hurricane. Hurricanes with maximum sustained winds of more than 157 mph as Category 5.
Hurricane Irma is likely to be Category 4 (130–156 mph) in South Florida, Category 3 (111–129 mph) in Central Florida, and Category 2 (96–110 mph) in North Florida .
A Hurricane Watch has extended to Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Volusia and Brevard counties as Irma progresses through the Caribbean.
The Friday afternoon track forecast is closer to Marco Island, Naples, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Sarasota, St Petersburg, Tampa, Ocala and Gainesville; compared to the earlier forecast track toward Miami. According to the National Weather Service, a slight shift in the track 50 miles east or west will make a considerable difference in the impacts Irma will have across the forecast area.
Naples, Florida and cities nearby are under a Hurricane Watch and Storm Surge Warning.
At 3:30 p.m. EDT Friday September 8, 2017 all counties south of Lake Okeechobee and the area including Lake Okeechobee were under a Hurricane Warning or Hurricane Watch. The entire southwest coastal area of Florida is also under a storm surge warning.
In Miami-Dade County, 650,000 people are under a mandatory evacuation order.
Key Largo braces for potentially catastrophic storm surge from Hurricane Irma as state officials in Florida warn citizens to take them seriously.
Key West, Miami, and the Everglades are under a Hurricane Warning alert.
Even Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Lakeland and Orlando were under a Hurricane Watch by Friday afternoon. Orlando and Disney World could experience 12 to 15 inches of rain through the duration of the storm with worse conditions possible along the coast.
Gainesville and Ocala were not under a Hurricane Watch as of 3:45 p.m. EDT.
The Hurricane Watches and Warnings are expected to move north as Hurricane Irma enters the state.
Thousands evacuate Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma.
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Gov. Scott: If you’re in an evacuation zone you must get out.
Florida residents face uncertainty ahead of Irma while forecasters are forecasting a nightmare scenario.
STORM SURGE: Category 4 storm pushing tremendous amount of water toward the Florida peninsula; Rick Reichmuth reports from the Fox Extreme Weather Center
Palpable Fear: More than 500,000 people under mandatory evacuation order in Miami-Dade County, window to leave is closing; Steve Harrigan reports from Miami Shores, Florida
Florida Hurricane Irma Track forecast at about 2:00 p.m. Friday September 8 2017.