Florida Battens Down as Hurricane Irma Approaches: Ports Close in Preparation
SOUTH FLORIDA - Hurricane Irma has rapidly become what is being reported as one of the most powerful Atlantic storms ever recorded, with the state of Florida quickly moving to prepare for its anticipated arrival late this week.
Along with mandatory evacuations, State Governor Rick Scott activated the state National Guard to help with hurricane preparations and has suspended highway tolls, according to the New York Times.
Ports have also been closed as Irma approaches. Advance Customs Brokers issued a statement cautioning that all South Florida ports are now indicating that the terminals will halt vessel operations as soon as today, Sept. 7.
“All Government agencies will also cease operations by the end of the business day on 9/7/17,” the release states. “Ambassador in Port Canaveral will be closed on Friday. Seatrade is currently working on a contingency plan regarding their Sunday vessel for Canaveral.”
Georgia and the Carolinas are also on alert for potential impacts, AccuWeather reported.
“This hurricane has the potential to be a major event for the East Coast,” Evan Myers, AccuWeather Expert Senior Meteorologist and Chief Operating Officer, said. “It also has the potential to significantly strain FEMA and other governmental resources occurring so quickly on the heels of Harvey. Because Irma is likely to move up along the East Coast of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, people from the Florida Keys all the way to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, should prepare to be ready to evacuate coastal areas, starting with South Florida now.”
While air traffic and travel were not reported on, Advance Customs Brokers advised that cargo arriving over the weekend and into next week will be processed, and entries filed without delay. It noted that it would be critical that any cargo discharged and cleared in South Florida ports be delivered and unloaded, and empties returned to the terminals.
“Your confidence in our uninterrupted service is paramount to us. To this end we are taking emergency measures to ensure continual communication with you,” the company said. “A few key personnel may be relocated outside of the area to allow for ongoing processing, traffic, and follow up of your cargo.”
As we reported previously, the system was recorded at 185 mph on Tuesday, topping out the Saffir-Simpson scale as a Category 5 storm.
Irma has already had devastating impacts on the northern Caribbean, and AccuWeather stated that how quickly it turns to the north after passing Cuba will determine whether the center of the storm makes landfall in southeastern Florida or passes between Florida and the Bahamas.
As we continue to monitor the situation and hope for the best possible outcome, especially in light of the recent repercussions of Hurricane Harvey, AndNowUKnow will report the latest as more details become available.