Hurricane Irma is barreling toward the Atlantic coast, threatening Florida, where officials announced mandatory evacuations in some areas Tuesday.
Irma is expected to be the most powerful hurricane to strike the Atlantic coast in more than a decade. If it hits Florida it will be the strongest hurricane since Andrew, which devastated Florida 25 years ago this month.
Florida has declared a state of emergency as Irma gathered strength in the ocean, registering as a Category 5 with winds in excess of 280 kilometres per hour. The Florida Keys, a chain of islands at the southern tip of the state and home to more than 80,000 residents, is in the direct path of the storm as currently forecast. Where it may travel after that is still unknown but people all over the state are preparing for the worst.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a Regional Emergency Declaration and an exemption from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. This provides regulatory relief for CMV operators who are providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts transporting supplies and equipment into Florida or providing other assistance in the form of emergency services during Hurricane Irma.
Regulatory relief terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services not directly supporting the emergency relief effort.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has activated 100 members of the Florida National Guard and said he has directed all 7,000 members to report for duty on Friday.
Scott ordered Florida transportation officials to suspend tolls across the state as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, which could help lessen congestion on the crowded arteries drivers will use to escape the storm’s potential path.
Georgia is now recommending evacuations in preparation of Irma’s march forward