Gov. Rick Scott began Saturday morning with an increasingly dire message for Florida residents in the path of Hurricane Irma.
“This is an unbelievably massive, destructive storm. It’s a killer,” he said during one of a string of morning show appearances as dawn broke at the state Emergency Operations Center.
With the western peninsula now forecast to take the brunt of the storm, Scott urged residents who have been ordered to evacuate to leave immediately.
Late Friday, after warning 5.6 million people to heed warnings and leave areas facing life-threatening winds and flooding, Scott moved his family from his Naples waterfront home to the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee.
“Look, it’s getting late,” he told viewers of the “Today Show” on NBC. “If you’re not on the road on the west coast by noon, you need to get to a shelter, get to a friend’s house if you’re in an evacuation zone. Get off the road.”
“The storm surge is what really scares me,” he said on a different morning show. “Potential 12 feet of storm surge.Think about that. ... You cannot survive this.”
He added: “You have got to understand: This is different than something like [Hurricane] Andrew. We didn’t get the storm surge in Andrew. This is going to impact both of our coasts. It’s a big, big storm.”
As Hurricane Irma bears down on southern Florida, the state Department of Transportation is starting to close service plazas on the Turnpike.
Just before 10 a.m., the Snapper Creek service plaza in Miami was being closed.Plazas in Pompano Beach and West Palm Beach will close at noon, to allow staff to return home before the 3 p.m. local curfew, FDOT said.
“The remaining service plazas will be closed south to north as conditions worsen,” state DOT director Mike Dew said in a statement. “We will close each in time to secure equipment and evacuate our staff prior to the arrival of tropical storm force winds.”
Scott began Saturday with a weather briefing at the state EOC, and then a string of back-to-back interviews with “Good Morning America,” the “Today Show,” “CBS This Morning,” and The Weather Channel.He departed Tallahassee around 7:30 a.m. to head to Sarasota for a press conference at 9:15 a.m.
His schedule for the rest of the day has not yet been released.
About 1,000 more nurses are needed as volunteers in Florida’s emergency storm shelters before Hurricane Irma hits, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said again Saturday morning.
The state was especially seeking help in its “special needs” shelters.
“Anybody that can come and help us do that, we appreciate it,” Scott said during an appearance on a national morning show. “We need 1,000 nurses, and hopefully we’ll get them.”
Those able to volunteer were asked to email the state at BPRCHDpreparedness@FLHealth.gov.