As Hurricane Irma inches closer to Florida, officials are evacuating coastal areas and mobile homes.
Pinellas County unanimously voted Thursday morning to issue mandatory evacuation orders beginning Friday morning. That’s because the latest track for the Category 4 storm looks as if it will greatly impact the area.
Here’s a look at the latest track of Irma as of 11 a.m. Eastern on Friday.
Much of the Clearwater Beach area is expected to feel the impact of Irma beginning Sunday evening and into Monday morning.
The National Weather Service issued an alert for West Central and Southwest Florida on Friday, saying a storm surge warning has been issued for Inland Lee and a hurricane watch was issued for Coastal Hillsborough, Inland Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Polk.
On Monday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a statewide state of emergency, giving officials the appropriate time to prep for the storm. Residents of the Sunshine State have been encouraged since then to review emergency plans and potential evacuation plans.
With the decision to evacuate, the Clearwater Police Department has restricted access to Clearwater Beach and limited it to only those with “legitimate business interests” or re-entry permits.
To obtain a re-entry permit, you have to go to police headquarters at 645 Pierce Street on Friday.
Here’s the latest forecast for Clearwater through Irma’s impact, according to AccuWeather:
Friday night: Mostly cloudy with a low of 78 degrees and 8 mph NE winds. Gusts reaching 13 mph.
Saturday: Mostly cloudy with a shower or thunderstorm and a high of 90 degrees. Winds at 12 mph NE with gusts reaching 18 mph.
Saturday night: Low clouds with a passing shower and a low of 79 degrees. Winds at 13 mph NNE and gusts reaching 21 mph.
Sunday: Irma approaches and brings heavy rainfall which will lead to flooding. High of 83 degrees with winds at 45 mph N and gusts topping out at 61 mph.
Sunday night: Heavy rain and strong winds from Irma with the potential for flooding. Low of 74 degrees with winds at 55 mph NNW and gusts reaching 92 mph.
Monday: Clouds and a shower giving way to sunshine. Winds at 12 mph W and gusts reaching 39 mph.
Monday night: Mostly cloudy with a low of 76 degrees and winds at 7 mph W and gusts touching 13 mph.
For the latest updates on Irma, click here.
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