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Hurricane Irma
9/8/2017
 
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Florida and officials warned more than 5 million people that time was running out Friday to evacuate ahead of the deadly hurricane as it followed a path that could take it from one end of the state to the other. By early evening, Irma was a slightly weakened Category 4 storm with winds of 155 mph and forecasters said it could be back up to Category 5 when it comes ashore near Key West on Sunday morning. Forecasters adjusted the storm's potential track more toward the west coast of Florida, away from the Miami metropolitan area of 6 million people, meaning a less costly a less deadly storm Nevertheless, forecasters warned that its hurricane-force winds were so wide they could reach from coast to coast, testing the nation's third-largest state, which has undergone rapid development and more stringent hurricane-proof building codes in the last decade or so. "This is a storm that will kill you if you don't get out of the way Everybody's going to feel this one." Irma killed at least 20 people in the Caribbean and left thousands homeless as it devastated small resort islands known for their warm, turquoise water. In Florida, gas shortages and gridlock plagued the evacuations, turning normally simple trips into tests of will. Parts of interstates 75 and 95 north were bumper to bumper, while very few cars drove on the southbound lanes. About 5.6 million people in Florida more than one quarter of the state's population were ordered to evacuate and another 540,000 were told to leave the Georgia coast. Authorities opened hundreds of shelters for people who did not leave. Hotels as far away as Atlanta filled up with evacuees. Florida Gov. Rick Scott said people fleeing could drive slowly in the shoulder lane on highways. He hasn't reversed the southbound lanes because he said they were needed to deliver gas and supplies.
  
 
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