Hurricane Irma is 'wider than our entire state', warns Florida governor

The storm has already ripped through the Caribbean, devastating Barbuda and Puerto Rico 

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Friday 08 September 2017 16:33 BST
Florida governor: 'This storm is wider than our entire state'

Florida Governor Rick Scott has warned that Hurricane Irma "is wider than our entire state and is expected to cause major and life-threatening impacts from coast to coast". The state is approximately 360 miles (580 km) wide.

Winds are expected to reach up to 155 mph (250 kmh).

He warned Florida residents to evacuate to safer areas and shelters and that the state "can rebuild your homes, we cannot rebuild your life".

Mr Scott has repeatedly addressed the public since the path of Irma became clear. The hurricane, a Category 5, has already devastated Caribbean islands like Barbuda and left more than a million people without power in Puerto Rico. The death toll has reached 19.

Speakig on Friday morning, he cautioned citizens on the state's west coast not to become "complacent" even the brunt of the storm is expected over the Florida Keys, a chain of islands off the southern tip, and east coast.

Mr Scott said state officials are aware of "problems with the fuel supply," particularly in the southern counties of the state where people have been told to evacuate.

As of 7 September almost a third of gas stations along that part of the east coast had run out of fuel. There were also several stations that did not have power.

He advised people to use the GasBuddy app in order to track where they can get fuel, but only take as much as they need in order to get to a safe location.

Though, part of the problem is the massive evacuation taking place the other is that Hurricane Harvey just inundated Texas refineries that supplied Florida.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Florida normally keeps a seven day supply of petrol on hand "and shipments are still coming in: Tankers are unloading at ports like Tampa, and barges are travelling along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway".

However, trucks are experiencing long delays at fuel racks and preventing them from delivering to gas stations around the state.

The fear of what is predicted to be one of the most powerful storms in US history has caused a state-wide panic to buy gasoline because the path of the storm, though expected to be on the east coast, could change.

To alleviate some of the massive traffic jams on northbound highways, all tolls have been suspended and the governor said fuel trucks are getting police escorts to ensure smoother and quicker travel to refuel petrol stations where it is needed the most.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in