Miami is thrown a lifeline as Hurricane Irma moves west but millions in Florida are still told to evacuate their homes within 24 hours as the deadly storm smashed Cuba and barrels toward them

Saturday, September 9, 2017
By Paul Martin

Hurricane Irma is rattling through Cuba after making landfall late on Friday night as a Category 5 hurricane
It will move towards Florida and make landfall on the southwest coast on Sunday afternoon as a Category
Miami was in its sights but the storm has shifted its path and it is no longer likely to directly hit the east coast
All of south Florida will be encompassed with winds and storm surges as Irma moves through it
5.6million people in the state have been told to flee their homes or risk dying as the storm makes landfall
50,000 people are in shelters across Florida and countless more have fled to friends and family’s homes
At least 24 people have already died as a result of the storm in the Caribbean which it ravaged this week
Airports in southern Florida have now closed and anyone choosing to ride out the storm is in grave danger

By JENNIFER SMITH and REGINA F. GRAHAM
DAILYMAIL.COM
9 September 2017

Miami was thrown a lifeline on Saturday as Hurricane Irma’s path veered west, narrowly avoiding a direct hit from the storm.

Irma is expected to move up the southwest coast as a Category 4 hurricane on Sunday, bringing with it 130mph winds and life threatening rain.

It is not likely to make landfall on US soil until the early ours of Monday when meteorologists now predict it will hit Tampa as a Category 3 storm.

Irma is so powerful that no matter where it hits and even before it does, the entire southern section of the state is at risk of storm surge, deadly wind and rain.

More than 5million people have been evacuated in anticipation of it and 50,000 people are in shelters across the state.

On Saturday morning, Governor Rick Scott, who has been pleading with residents for days to leave evacuation zones before Irma hits, said : ‘This is a catastrophic storm. We have never seen this before. The storm is bigger than our state.

‘If you are in an evacuation zone, I hope you leave right this minute,’ he said from Sarasota. Gov. Scott said he felt the state was ‘prepared’, stating confidently: ‘Everybody is ready but I’ve got to get people out. This is encompassing our whole state.’

He said he had called up 7,000 National Guard troops to help deal with the catastrophe. People in Florida are being told to prepare three days worth of food and water to ride out the zone.

In the largest evacuation effort in US history, millions of people in the Sunshine State and in parts of Georgia have been told to leave their home before Irma strikes on Sunday afternoon.

All of the airports in southeast Florida are now closed and anyone who is still there is being told to leave urgently or take refuge in one of the shelters being set up.

In Miami, officials admitted they were ‘rewriting the book’ as they went along to try to prepare for Irma. Evacuees who have been able to get to a shelter compared the cramped conditions inside to Guantanamo Bay.

Some people are being turned away as high schools and other public spaces reach capacity.

As of Friday night, only 21 of the 42 planned shelters in Miami Dade County, which takes in a huge swathe of the city, had been announced.

The monstrous hurricane has already claimed 24 lives in the Caribbean and wiped out entire small islands.

On Saturday morning, it had Cuba in its grip and was pounding the country with torrential rain and winds of up to 130mph.

The Rest…HERE

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