(ASSOCIATED PRESS/CBSDFW.COM) – Florida Gov. Rick Scott has a stark warning for anyone who wants to defy a mandatory evacuation order ahead of Hurricane Irma. He says: “If you live in any evacuation zones and you’re still at home, LEAVE!”
Scott said he “cannot stress this enough. Do not ignore evacuation orders. You rebuild your home … you cannot recreate your family.”
The eye of Hurricane Irma is moving west-northwest off the Dominican Republic’s northern coast as an extremely dangerous Category 5 storm.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Irma has top sustained winds near 175 mph and is expected to continue moving between Hispaniola and the Turks and Caicos in the afternoon hours, on a course taking it to the southeastern Bahamas Thursday evening.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe says four people are confirmed dead and about 50 injured on the Caribbean island of St. Martin in the wake of the storm.
The prime minister said one person faces life-threatening injuries and two others were in serious condition.
As of 1 p.m. central, Irma’s crisply defined eye was about 65 miles north-northeast of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, moving at about 16 mph to the west-northwest. You can continue to track the storm by clicking on this link for the latest forecast.
The NOAA Hurricane Hunters posted this incredible video of their flight into Hurricane Irma.
In the Atlantic, Hurricane Jose has rapidly strengthened to a Category 2 hurricane with top sustained winds of 105 mph. Jose is following Irma’s path, moving west-northwest at 18 mph over open ocean, about 660 miles east of the Lesser Antilles.
In the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Katia was virtually stationary Thursday afternoon, some 215 miles east of Tampico, Mexico. Forecasters say that Category 1 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, should remain stationary through late Thursday, then approach the Mexican coast late Friday or early Saturday.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)