MIAMI/SAN JUAN: Officials in the Florida Keys are gearing up to get tourists and residents out of the possible path of Hurricane Irma.
Monroe County spokeswoman Cammy Clark said in a news release that a mandatory evacuation for tourists will begin at sunrise on Wednesday. An evacuation plan for residents is also under way but a timetable hasn’t been determined.
He said government offices, parks and schools will close and there will be no shelters in Monroe County. The county’s three hospitals are also beginning evacuation plans. As Hurricane Irma bore down on the Caribbean, a new tropical storm emerged in the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday, the National Hurricane Centre said.
Tropical Storm Jose had formed in the open Atlantic to the east of Hurricane Irma, which has developed into a powerful Category Five storm, the Miami-based NHC said. It said Jose was moving west-northwest at 13 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour.
The NHC said Jose was expected to strengthen during the next 48 hours and could become a hurricane by Friday.
Irma’s approach has sparked alarm and flooding alerts as it barrels towards the Caribbean. The monster hurricane coming on the heels of Harvey, which struck Texas late last month, is expected to make landfall along the string of French islands including Guadeloupe late on Tuesday before heading to Haiti and Florida.
Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2017
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