Published: Sun, September 10, 2017
World News | By Carolyn Briggs

Preparing for Irma: More than 50000 head to Florida shelters

Preparing for Irma: More than 50000 head to Florida shelters

The storm was expected to make landfall in Florida on Sunday.

Hurricane Center spokesman and meteorologist Dennis Feltgen said overnight that while Miami won't get the core of Irma it will still get life-threatening hurricane conditions.

A mandatory evacuation, ordered for the Keys days ago, meant most people have already left.

The government-sponsored shelters were open Saturday as officials warned 6.3 million Floridians to evacuate.

Red Cross shelter coordinator Steve Bayer said most people at shelters are grateful and happy.

Irma weakened to a Category 3 storm before it blew by Cuba, but it caused plenty of damage.

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The hurricane centre predicts Irma will follow a course along the western side of Florida - which includes the major cities of Fort Meyers and Tampa - on Sunday.

Storm force winds may be felt in Tallahassee for 18 hours, starting tomorrow, the weather service said.

Hurricane Irma was about 110 miles (175 km) southeast of Key West, Florida, and heavy squalls carrying tornadoes were sweeping across south Florida, the National Hurricane Center said on Saturday.

At least 21 people have been killed so far after the Category 5 storm ravaged islands in the Caribbean, flattening buildings and wrecking infrastructure.

No injuries were reported on the island by Saturday night.

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