Southern Florida highways are underway by the massive evacuation with panicked residents emptying the gas stations.
The most powerful Atlantic storms of the a century is expected to hit Florida Keys on Sunday morning as a Category 5 hurricane bringing massive damage from wind and flooding to the fourth largest state by population.
Hurricane Irma with its devastating high winds has killed until now more than 58 people in eastern Caribbean, Cuba and the Bahamas and has let catastrophic destruction in its wake.
“We are running out of time. If you are in an evacuation zone, you need to go now. This is a catastrophic storm like our state has never seen. The storm’s effects would be felt from coast to coast in the state.” Governor Rick Scott told reporters today.
“Irma was a storm of absolutely historic destructive potential,” U.S. President Donald Trump said in a videotaped statement and called on people to heed recommendations from government officials and law enforcement.
Hurricane Irma passed over Cuba’s northern coast and the central Bahamas. Went on the Turks and Caicos Islands, and then crossed by the northern edges of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Cuban television broadcast footage of the sea flooding coastal towns in the eastern provinces of Guantanamo and Holguin, with waves reaching 20 feet (6 meters).
Irma was forecast to bring dangerous storm surges of up to 20 feet (6 meters) to the southeastern and central Bahamas, and up to 10 feet (3 meters) on parts of Cuba’s northern coast.
The storm was downgraded from a rare Category 5, the top of the scale of hurricane intensity, to a Category 4 early Friday but it still carried winds as strong as 155 mph (250 kph), the NHC said.