As Hurricane Irma tears through the Caribbean and heads for southern Florida and the Mainland United States, will Tampa, Florida be evacuated?
On September 4, Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in anticipation of Irma’s arrival, according to Fox 13 News.
“Hurricane Irma is a major and life-threatening storm and Florida must be prepared,” Scott said in the declaration. “I have declared a state of emergency for every county in Florida to make certain that state, federal and local governments are able to work together and make sure resources are dispersed to local communities as we get prepared for this storm,” he added.
Subsequently, Tampa’s mayor, Bob Buckhorn, followed suit in the early hours of Wednesday, September 6, Mayor Buckhorn impressed on Tampa residents the need for prudent action and preparation.
“The magnitude of this storm is unlike anything we have seen,” Buckhorn told the media. “It is potentially catastrophic. It is potentially devastating. It is certainly life-threatening.”
Buckhorn’s declaration did not include a mandatory evacuation order, though he did advise those considering such a move to do so promptly.
“Have a plan and execute on that plan. Friday or Saturday or Sunday is too late. So we need you to go do what you have to do today.”
Buckhorn urged new residents, who may not have experienced a hurricane season in Tampa, to “err on the side of caution.”
Evacuation routes for Tampa and all of Hillsborough County can be viewed in the image below or by clicking the following link to the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
While the most recent models for Hurricane Irma project the storm moving away from Tampa, officials are still advising caution and vigilance. Tampa residents choosing not to evacuate have been busy stocking up on supplies, with multiple outlets reporting on stores running out of bottled water and gas stations without fuel to sell.