Not time to let your guard down:
The outer bands of Irma will move across South Florida this evening with increasing frequency of tropical storm force winds. The threat of tornadoes and strong wind gusts will continue to increase throughout the evening and overnight. Hurricane force winds may begin as soon as the pre-dawn hours on Sunday over the far southern tip of the peninsula spreading northward throughout the morning hours. Preparations to protect life and property should be complete! All persons in South Florida should take shelter and be prepared for dangerous conditions through Monday. Hurricane Irma is a potentially deadly situation and should not be taken lightly. Everyone is urged to exercise extreme caution in order to protect their lives. Time is running out to leave areas under evacuation orders!
* SURGE: Protect against life-threatening surge having possible catastrophic impacts across Southwest Florida. Potential impacts in this area include: - Widespread deep inundation, with storm surge flooding greatly accentuated by powerful battering waves. Structural damage to buildings, with many washing away. Damage greatly compounded from considerable floating debris. Locations may be uninhabitable for an extended period. - Near-shore escape routes and secondary roads washed out or severely flooded. Flood control systems and barriers may become stressed. - Extreme beach erosion. New shoreline cuts possible. - Massive damage to marinas, docks, boardwalks, and piers. Numerous small craft broken away from moorings with many lifted onshore and stranded. Also, protect against life-threatening surge having possible significant to devastating impacts across the remainder of coastal South Florida.
* WIND: Potential impacts from the main wind event are now unfolding across South Florida. Remain well sheltered from life-threatening wind having possible devastating impacts. If realized, these impacts include: - Structural damage to sturdy buildings, some with complete roof and wall failures. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Damage greatly accentuated by large airborne projectiles. Locations may be uninhabitable for weeks or months. - Numerous large trees snapped or uprooted along with fences and roadway signs blown over. - Many roads impassable from large debris, and more within urban or heavily wooded places. Many bridges, causeways, and access routes impassable. - Widespread power and communications outages.
* FLOODING RAIN: Potential impacts from the flooding rain are still unfolding across South Florida. Remain well guarded against life-threatening flood waters having possible devastating impacts. If realized, these impacts include: - Extreme rainfall flooding may prompt numerous evacuations and rescues. - Ditches and canals may overwhelmingly overflow their banks in many places with deep moving water. Flood control systems and barriers may become stressed. - Flood waters can enter numerous structures within multiple communities, some structures becoming uninhabitable or washed away. Numerous places where flood waters may cover escape routes with streets, parking lots and underpasses submerged. Driving conditions become very dangerous. Numerous road and bridge closures with some weakened or washed out.
* TORNADOES: Potential impacts from tornadoes are still unfolding across South Florida. Remain well braced against a dangerous tornado event having possible significant impacts. If realized, these impacts include: - The occurrence of scattered tornadoes can hinder the execution of emergency plans during tropical events. - Several places may experience tornado damage with a few spots of considerable damage, power loss, and communications failures. - Locations could realize roofs torn off frame houses, mobile homes demolished, boxcars overturned, large trees snapped or uprooted, vehicles tumbled, and small boats tossed about. Dangerous projectiles can add to the toll.
* EVACUATIONS: Do not return to evacuated areas until hazardous winds diminish and flood waters abate.
* OTHER PREPAREDNESS INFORMATION: Now is the time to remain safely sheltered from the storm. Stay inside and away from windows. Listen for updates and be ready in case you lose electrical power. Locate your battery powered radio and flashlight from your Emergency Supplies Kit. Keep these items close. Continue to keep your cell phone well charged for as long as possible. If you lose power, use it more sparingly and mainly for personal emergencies and check-ins. Do not overload communications systems with idle chatter. Do not be a senseless thrill seeker or risk your life for photos or videos. Be wise and avoid becoming another statistic.