Hurricane Irma latest: Southwest Florida storm surge could be 12 feet

MIAMI- The latest storm discussion is out from National Hurricane Center reminding people in Florida that Hurricane Irma will likely hit land as a dangerous major hurricane is so immense that it will bring life-threatening wind impacts to much of the state regardless of exactly where its center moves.


****Track Hurricane Irma in the video above****

The storm surge also could be deadly across southern Florida and the Florida Keys during the next 36 hours. The threat of significant storm surge flooding along the southwest coast of Florida has now increased, with 6 to 12 feet of inundation above ground level possible in this area.

Again, the hurricane center says this is a life-threatening situation, so everyone in these areas should take all actions to evacuate before rising water makes it impossible.

Associated Press videos show the destruction Hurricane Irma brought to the Caribbean island of St. Martin.
Gnarled black branches of leafless trees, street after street now littered with piles of corrugated tin, plywood, wrought iron, battered cars and unidentifiable objects that were once parts of someone’s life.
Handfuls of people are stumbling through the debris. One reaches the property where her home has now disappeared and says “Oh my God … Where did you go?”
There’s little left of the Hotel Mercure — just its sign, painted on one of the walls that still stand amid the ruins. As some begin to clean up, others line up outside a hospital, where the first two syllables of an “EMERGENCY” sign lie on the ground.

Authorities on the Dutch territory of St. Maarten say it will take months before people can recover from Hurricane Irma. Prime Minister William Marlin told the Dutch military that the Caribbean island lost many, many homes; schools are destroyed; both government buildings are severely damaged; many people have lost their homes; hotels are so damaged that tourists won’t come; the electricity company lost its roof so generators aren’t working; nearly half the water tanks are gone; and all the gas stations are destroyed.

He also confirms that people have been looting. He calls it “a psychological thing that happens anywhere in the world following a major disaster like this. People become kind of hopeless and there is no communication.”

After days of saying they would continue with normal operations while monitoring Irma, Sea World and its properties on Friday announced closings for the weekend.

Sea World and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay will close down at 5 p.m. on Saturday, pending further updates on the storm. Both parks will remain closed Sunday and Monday. Aquatics Orlando will be closed Saturday through Monday. Discovery Cove will be closed Sunday and Monday. Disney World and Universal Orlando have not responded for requests on updated to their plans.

As of Thursday both parks said they will continue with normal business hours but are monitoring the storm.