Hurricane Irma continues its destruction in the state of Florida and, according to Buzzfeed News, it made landfall on Sunday morning at approximately 9:00 a.m., impacting the entire southern portion of the state.
The conditions have worsened to the point where mandatory evacuation orders have been implemented for large parts of the area, including The Keys.
According to the site, at least 27 deaths have been reported as of Sunday morning, all hailing from drastically destroyed areas including St. Martin, Sint Maarten, Barbuda, Puerto Rico, the US and British Virgin Islands, Barbados and Anguilla. There has been an Irma-linked death in Florida, reported late on Saturday. The investigation is ongoing.
Hurricane Irma has now been classified as a Category 3 storm and is currently turning into the southern and western coasts of Florida.
Heavy rain, severe gales and an already deadly storm surge is making its way inland. At least 24 people have already died from the massive hurricane, with deaths in St. Martin, Barbuda, Puerto Rico, the US and British Virgin Islands.
On Saturday afternoon (September 9), 125 mph winds slowly began turning the storm upward from Cuba’s northern coast toward the Florida Strait.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Irma is expected to strengthen again and mainstain potent as it reaches the Florida coast. 76,000 households are already without power in the state with more than 72,000 in shelters.
Mandatory evacuation orders are in place for parts of southern Florida, including the Keys. Highways are packed with people attempting to leave the state.
We’ll keep you updated with further details as they become available.
As the death toll in the Caribbean rises from Hurricane Irma, a state of emergency has been declared in Florida as the storm approaches the peninsula.
With winds of up to 185 mph, Irma has started on the path to Florida after devastating the French Caribbean island territories, Anguilla, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, St. Martin and Barbuda. As of now, the death toll stands at 13. Three were killed in Puerto Rico, eight were reported killed in French St. Martin, one person in Anguilla and an infant in Barbuda, reported The Guardian.
In Florida, Governor Rick Scott urged people on the coast to evacuate as soon as possible, reported the New York Daily News.
“The storm can move and change at a moment's notice,” Scott said Thursday. “Floridians on the west coast cannot be complacent. And those in coastal areas should be prepared to leave. Many of you, I know, are already stuck in traffic. I know it has to be frustrating. But please be patient. Evacuations are not meant to be convenient. They are meant to keep you safe.”
Scott ordered a mandatory evacuation for the Florida Keys along with storm-prone Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
“This is a catastrophic storm that our state hasn't seen,” Scott warned. “It has already killed a lot of people in the Caribbean. Don't think you can ride out this storm. Protecting life is our absolute top priority. No resource or expense will be spared to protect families.”
For Florida residents in need of emergency help, the following numbers should be used:
The Florida Emergency Information Line has been activated 24/7. For up-to-date information regarding Hurricane Irma, call 1-800-342-3557.
In order to find a hurricane shelter close to you, you can text the word "shelter" and your zip code to the number 4-F-E-M-A or 4-3-3-6-2.
Another option is to call 2-1-1. They are the crisis, information and referral line for all of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.
Note: Texting FEMA is not a substitute for calling 911.
If you would like to donate to Hurricane Irma relief, the following places are accepting donations and/or volunteers:
The American Red Cross needs volunteers in Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
UNICEF is providing emergency relief and will help children affected by the hurricane resume their education.
The Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross is providing support to victims in the Sister Isle.
ConPRmetidos is providing relief to communities impacted by the hurricane in Puerto Rico.
The nonprofit Convoy of Hope is helping victims in the British Virgin Islands and Haiti.
Oxfam has people on the ground to provide relief in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
GlobalGiving wants to raise $5 million for relief and recovery efforts in regions affected by the hurricane.
Save the Children will provide relief efforts for families and children impacted by the storm.
The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster is registering volunteers to help in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other areas affected by Hurricane Irma.
SPCA International provides support to shelters and rescue groups working with animals affected by natural disasters.
(Photo: Jose Jimenez/Getty Images)