Latest Hurricane Irma information: Sept. 5th, 4 PM update

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Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma becomes massive category 5 storm with winds of up to 185 MPH, Suncoast Region residents hit stores and gas stations to stock supplies and fill-up vehicles

Hurricane Irma
Zodee Auld/Suncoast Standard-No gas found at a gas station in Inverness, FL on US-HWY 41.

Storm-related preparation supplies, like cases of bottled water and gasoline, are becoming more and more difficult to find, as local inventories face strong consumer demand. Some attribute the sudden increase in demand of storm-related preparation supplies to the sudden strengthening of Hurricane Irma from a Category 4 storm into an 185 MPH Category 5.

According to various social media posts, retailers throughout the Suncoast Region are running out of bottled water and gas stations are running out of gas.

A Citrus County-area Publix manager was asked when the next shipment of water was due to arrive at the store and answered that the next truck shipment is due on Thursday and at this time it is not certain if any water will be on that truck.

Local humanitarian efforts to support Hurricane Harvey efforts in Texas may have also put a strain on local inventories of bottled water.

Basic Information

Center location: 16.9 N, 59.1 W

Maximum Sustained Wind: 185 MPH

Movement: W at 14 MPH

Hurricane Irma Cone
Photo Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

For the first time, the outer edge of Hurricane Irma’s forecast cone is approaching the Suncoast Region.

Hurricane forecast model tracks are starting to show different scenarios

Hurricane Irma
Photo Credit: South Florida Water Management District

12 of the 20 long-term forecast models still predict an eventual landfall somewhere on the Florida peninsula. But, fewer forecast scenarios depict a storm that moves up the center landmass of Florida.

Now, more models are indicating a storm that may hug either Florida coast.

Governor Scott temporarily suspends toll collections due to Hurricane Irma in order to facilitate smooth evacuation procedures; evacuation order goes out for residents and tourists of the Florida Keys

Hurricane Irma Wind Forecast
Photo Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Wind forecast models show that winds will ramp up in the Suncoast Region starting on Saturday morning. Winds associated with Hurricane Irma are predicted to hit South Florida this Friday.

Notice: short-term plans for the Suncoast Standard

Last night, the Suncoast Standard website was temporarily down for about an hour as we experienced our highest web traffic ever. Server issues are now resolved.

We want to thank the tens of thousands of online visitors who have come to our website over the Labor Day Holiday and the thousands who have taken the time to share our various Hurricane Irma update posts on their social media accounts.

We, as a newspaper, are committed to both online operations and newsprint and appreciate all who support us, regardless of their medium of choice.

However, in order to allow our staff, and our volunteers, ample time to prepare for the storm or evacuate from the area, we will be suspending this weekend’s newsprint edition of the Suncoast Standard. This will not negatively effect any of our newsprint subscribers in the long-term since our subscriptions are also linked to receiving a set number of newsprint editions.

We will continue our online and social media platform focus. And, over the next few days, we will ramp up our online coverage. Our updates will come out every 6 hours, then every 3 hours, and then as needed.

We have also added two pages to the website, one is Hurricane Irma, where we will put important information from local governments. The other is Rumor Control, where we will share individual and grass root reports.

For example, concerned individuals are asking the newspaper about re-entry tags.

We’ll investigate re-entry tags, and other local developments, and share what we discover in our next update which will be posted around 10 PM tonight.

Submitted by: Lou Newman, Publisher, on September 5th at 5:06 PM

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