Erick Amador and his dog, Barry, check out the beach as people prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Irma on September 8, 2017 in Miami Beach, Florida.
With the storm barreling toward the United States, officials in Florida ordered an unprecedented evacuation, racing to overcome clogged highways, gasoline shortages and move elderly residents to safety.
“We are running out of time. If you are in an evacuation zone, you need to go now. This is a catastrophic storm like our state has never seen,” Governor Rick Scott told reporters.
A total of 5.6 million people, or 25 percent of the state’s population, were ordered to evacuate Florida, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
The United States has been hit by only three Category 5 storms since 1851, and Irma is far larger than the last one in 1992, Hurricane Andrew, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
President Donald Trump said in a videotaped statement that Irma was “a storm of absolutely historic destructive potential” and called on people to heed recommendations from government officials and law enforcement. In Palm Beach, Trump’s waterfront Mar-a-Lago estate was ordered evacuated.