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News

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Two manatees were stranded after Hurricane Irma sucked the water out of Sarasota Bay, in Manatee County.

Hurricane Irma is having an impact on the entire Tampa Bay area. WUSF has reporters spread out across the region. This county-by-county breakdown will be updated continuously as the storm passes.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

It seemed an obvious solution to Michael Oded, who was asked at the last minute Friday to get sandbags and secure his friend’s Davis Islands home from flooding.

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

Hurricane Irma's projected path is moving west and state leaders are urging Floridians to prepare for the worst.

Evacuation orders have been issued and shelters are open.  

Here's a list of shelters, evacuation zones and other need-to-know information as Hurricane Irma approaches: 

SHELTERS

Pinellas County

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

A massive but weakened Hurricane Irma zeroed in on the Tampa Bay region early Monday after hammering much of Florida with roof-ripping winds, gushing floodwaters and widespread power outages.

WUSF Public Media

Access to the Pinellas County barrier islands had already been restricted since Friday morning to residents, business owners and employees in advance of Hurricane Irma. 

Starting Sunday at 6 a.m., no one will be allowed in - even if they live there. 

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

Hurricane Irma's leading edges whipped palm trees and kicked up the surf as the storm spun toward Florida with 120 mph winds Saturday on a projected new track that could put Tampa — not Miami — in the crosshairs.

Tampa has not taken a direct hit from a major hurricane in nearly a century.

Hurricane Irma's projected path is moving west and state leaders are urging Floridians to prepare for the worst.

Evacuation orders have been issued and shelters are open.  

Here's a list of shelters, evacuation zones and other need-to-know information as Hurricane Irma approaches: 

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

The biggest danger to life and property from Hurricane Irma could come from storm surge that forces seawater inland, which could topple houses, isolate residents who don't evacuate and make drowning an imminent threat, the National Hurricane Center is warning.

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

The National Hurricane Center says it's looking more likely that the eye of powerful Hurricane Irma will strike the Keys, southwestern Florida and the Tampa Bay region starting Sunday. But that doesn't mean Miami area is in the clear. It's not.

Updated at 6 a.m. ET Saturday

Hurricane Irma is again a Category 4 storm as it slowly moves along the Cuban coast. The storm made landfall on the Camaguey archipelago of Cuba late Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center. As of 5 a.m. Saturday, the hurricane's center was just off the northern coast near central Cuba. The report puts Irma's traveling speed at 12 mph, about 245 miles south-southeast of Miami.

About 5.6 million people in Florida have been ordered to evacuate; forecasters expect the hurricane to hit Florida early Sunday morning.

Florida health officials say after major storms and natural disasters, there’s an increase of carbon monoxide poisoning cases, and they're informing people why and how to prevent it aheadof Hurricane Irma. 

Lake Okeechobee is currently at 13.7 feet, which is a slight increase over the course of the week, despite days of water releases into the estuaries surrounding the lake.

While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does not at this point believe the aging Hoover Dike is at risk of breach, there are three places where they expect significant amount of water to splash over and potentially stream over the top of those sites.

The Florida Department Of Corrections has started evacuating some of their smaller facilities in South Florida.

Hundreds of people are housed in a large room with computer monitors and giant TV screens lining the walls overhead. Lots of people are on computers, and even more are walking around wearing navy emergency response team shirts. It’s a calm but busy Friday afternoon at the State Emergency Operations Center.

The center in Tallahassee is at its highest activation: Level 1

Key West has seen a lot of hurricanes over the years — but the island itself hasn't had a direct hit since 1919 (though there were a couple of near misses, with Hurricane Georges moving across the Lower Keys in 1998 and Wilma swamping the island from the west in 2005).

Some islanders attribute that string to the supernatural - the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto.

Irma? There's an app for that.

Officials are encouraging South Florida residents to download smartphone apps for last-minute storm prep and to keep updated during the hurricane and its aftermath.

Among the suggested apps:

Florida Power and Light app: To monitor power outages

Florida 511: For real-time traffic updates

Gas Buddy: Shows gas stations and prices based on location

Hillsborough County

As Hurricane Irma approaches, authorities are encouraging residents to know whether they live in an evacuation zone, so they know when it’s time to leave.

Hurricane Irma, which battered the Caribbean with winds up to 185 mph, has its sights on Florida with winds now around 150 mph. according to the National Hurricane Center.

Those are really strong winds. Imagine speeding down the highway at 70 miles an hour with your car window open. You stick your hand out and hold it in the wind.

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Irma has strengthened back into a Category 5 storm, as officials warned more than 5 million people that time was running out Friday and ordered them 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.

Forecasters also extended hurricane and storm surge warnings and watches farther north to the Anclote River, including Tampa Bay.

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