We're keeping tabs on the very latest Hurricane Irma news and notes. We're posting information as it comes in.
Southwest Airlines has canceled all flights in and out of Tampa International Airport Saturday night through Sunday.
Clearwater Police Department will restrict access to Clearwater Beach beginning at 10 a.m. Friday. Officers will establish checkpoints at Court Street and Osceola Avenue and on Gulf Boulevard on Sand Key for that purpose.
Only those with official beach re-entry passes or those who can prove they have legitimate business interests on the beach will be allowed to have access. At any time the weather deteriorates from the effects of Hurricane Irma, those restrictions could tighten, with a possible total ban on any travel to the beach. Drivers are asked to have their beach access permits hanging from their rear-view mirror to streamline the process. Passes can be obtained by going to the Clearwater Police Department on Friday during normal business hours.
Video shot earlier of Florida Highway Patrol troopers escorting fuel tankers to ensure they make their deliveries safely:
Gov. Rick Scott has ordered mandatory evacuations for the towns on the southern half of Lake Okeechobee from Lake Port to Canal Point, including South Bay, Lake Harbor, Pahokee, Moore Haven, Clewiston, Belle Glade and Canal Point.
Gov. Rick Scott has ordered all state offices, K-12 schools and state colleges and universities to close from Friday to Monday.
Orlando International Airport will close at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Chick-fil-A says residents who bring in clean, refillable containers can fill them with their filtered water.
"Just ask any of our team members and we will gladly share the water we use to make our lemonade and cold brew iced coffee," the restaurant announced. "No one should worry about having safe water."
Selmon Expressway reversible express lanes will open eastbound from Thursday until Tuesday. Westbound will not be open on Friday or Monday.
The City of Dunedin has a local State of Emergency due to Hurricane Irma. City offices will be closed Friday.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has declared a public health emergency in Florida.
“Hurricane Irma has proven to be highly destructive and poses a significant threat to the health and safety of all Americans in its path,” said HHS Secretary Tom Price, M.D. “HHS has pre-positioned assets and personnel who can rapidly deploy to assist local responses in Florida to Hurricane Irma, and this declaration will help ensure that access to care is maintained for those with Medicare and Medicaid.”
Hurricane Irma, a powerful Category 5 storm, remains at 175 mph as of the 2 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center. No other changes were noted in this latest advisory, and south Florida remains under a hurricane watch.
St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport announced they will close at 11 a.m. Friday.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal issued a mandatory evacuation for the city of Savannah and other coastal areas starting Saturday.
Sarasota County officials addressed the public on the decision for the county to issue a local state of emergency.
The local state of emergency allows the county to request more resources from area and state partners.
Gov. Rick Scott addressed the public again after the National Hurricane Center issued hurricane watches in south Florida.
Tampa activates the Hurricane Irma hotline at (844)852-8889 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Pinellas County board members approve mandatory evacuation for Level A zone residents at 6 a.m. Friday.
The evacuation includes mobile homes.
Not sure which zone you live in? Click here
The National Hurricane Center issued hurricane watches for the Florida peninsula from Jupiter Inlet southward and around the peninsula to Bonita Beach, including the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee and Florida Bay.
Winds for the Category 5 hurricane weakened slightly at 175 mph.
Sarasota County has declared a local state of emergency in preparation for Hurricane Irma.
A voluntary evacuation for residents goes into effect at 7 a.m. Friday, Sept. 7, in Manatee County. It applies to people living in mobile homes and anyone in the county's evacuation Level A.
The Pinellas County Commission held a special meeting in preparation for possible impacts from Hurricane Irma. The commission
Florida Gov. Rick Scott addressed the public for preparations ahead of Hurricane Irma.
Scott said the Miami area will have deadly storm surge and life-threatening winds.
Any Floridian who is concerned about leaving the state and is low on fuel should call 1(800)955-5504.
Scott also activated an additional 3,000 Florida National Guard members.
The state is coordinating with Google's emergency response team to mark closed roads in real-time on Google Maps, according to Scott.
Hurricane watches are likely for parts of the Florida Keys and the southern part of the state this morning in advance of Irma, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The exact placement of those watches is not yet known. Stay with 10News for the latest.
Hurricane Irma is a potentially catastrophic Category 5 storm with 180 mph winds, according to the center's 8 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 7 advisory. The storm is about 110 miles north of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Orlando International Airport will cease commercial flights at 5 p.m. Saturday.
At least 10 people are confirmed dead in the Caribbean because of Hurricane Irma, according to the Associated Press.
Hurricane Irma is a 180-mph, Category 5 storm as of the National Hurricane Center's 5 a.m. update. The northwestern Bahamas now are under a hurricane warning.
The Dutch government will hold a crisis meeting on Thursday to discuss its response to the damage inflicted by Hurricane Irma on the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten, a former Dutch colony.
The Dutch interior minister said the cabinet would gather in The Hague to coordinate the aid operation, after Irma caused "an extreme amount of damage, particularly on St. Maarten".
Previous: Wednesday's Hurricane Irma blog
France's Interior minister says Hurricane Irma has killed at least eight people and left 23 injured on French Caribbean island territories.
Speaking on French radio France Info, Gerard Collomb said the number of people dead in Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthelemy could be higher because rescue teams have yet to finish their inspection of the islands.
Collomb said Thursday: "The reconnaissance will really start at daybreak."
Hurricane Irma is moving to the northeast of the Dominican Republic after blacking out much of Puerto Rico and raking the U.S. territory with wind and rain.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the Category 5 storm's maximum sustained winds are near 180 mph (290 kph). The hurricane center says some fluctuations in strength are likely during the next day or two but Irma is expected to remain a powerful Category 4 or 5 hurricane.
As of 2 a.m. EDT, the storm was about 140 miles (225 kilometers) northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and is moving west-northwest near 16 mph (26 kph).
As Hurricane Irma bears down on Florida, an Associated Press analysis shows a steep drop in flood insurance across the state, including the areas most endangered by what could be a devastating storm surge.
According to Federal Emergency Management Agency data, in just five years, the state's total number of federal flood insurance policies has fallen by 15 percent.
Florida's property owners still buy far more federal flood insurance than any other state - 1.7 million policies, covering about $42 billion in assets - but most residents in hazard zones are badly exposed. Fully 59 percent of the owners of properties in flood hazard zones don't have this insurance, despite requirements to have the coverage as a condition of their federally backed mortgage loans.
FEMA, which is ultimately responsible for enforcing flood insurance requirements, didn't respond to an email seeking comment from its Washington office.
Hurricane Irma has blacked out much of Puerto Rico as the dangerous Category 5 storm raked the U.S. territory with heavy wind and rain while staying just out to sea
Authorities are also struggling to get aid to small Caribbean islands devastated by the storm's record 185 mph (298 kph) winds earlier Wednesday.
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne says nearly every building on Barbuda was damaged when the hurricane's core crossed almost directly over the island early Wednesday and about 60 percent of the island's roughly 1,400 people are homeless.
He says a 2-year-old child was killed as a family tried to escape a damaged home during the storm.
Editor's Note: Information from the Associated Press is used in this story.
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