As Category 5 Hurricane Irma strengthens, Monroe County officials have issued a mandatory evacuation for everyone in the Florida Keys.
As described in a statement by The Monroe County Sheriff's Office
, the storm's likely direct impact wth the Keys is causing the county to issue a mandatory evacuation for visitors tomorrow, Sept 6, at sunrise. As of now, no time frame has been established for residents.
Parks, government offices, and schools will be closed all day Wednesday, and hospitals are planning to evacuate patients.
The U.S. National Hurricane Service
issued a statement on the storm's severity to the Keys: "Irma is a potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane and will bring life-threatening wind, storm surge, and rainfall hazards to portions of the northeastern Leeward Islands beginning later today and the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico beginning tomorrow."
Visitors traveling to the area around this time are being urged to postpone plans until the storm passes.
The latest report
from the NHS says Irma is maintaining 180 mph and climbing, with gusts up to 220 mph.