Hurricane Watch: Irma Approaching Virgin Islands
The National Hurricane Center has issued a public advisory stating that Hurricane Irma will move over portions of the Virgin Islands soon, pass near or north of Puerto Rico this afternoon or tonight, pass near or north of the Dominican Republic Thursday and be near the Turks and Caicos and southeastern Bahamas late Thursday.
Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued in several counties in Florida, with further evacuation orders expected throughout today. Non-essential personnel and their families at the Naval Air Station Key West have been ordered to evacuate, while the Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba will remain open (Military Times).
Florida governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Monday, and 7,000 national guard have been called to report by Friday, with all Florida members who reported to Texas to return to Florida (Military.com).
Irma is a potentially catastrophic Category 5 storm with hurricane-force winds that extend outward up to 50 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds that extend outward up to 185 miles, with storm surge of up to 20 feet expected in some areas.
U.S. Coast Guard has set port condition Whiskey for Puerto Rico and Virgin Island ports including Port Miami, Miami River, Port Everglades, Port of Palm Beach and the Port of Fort Pierce.
Image: Hurricane Irma