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Prepping For Irma: What You Need To Know

This visible light image of Hurricane Irma was captured by NOAA's GOES East satellite as it strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane in the Central Atlantic Ocean on Sept. 5 at 7:45 a.m. EDT

As Irma closes in on the Florida peninsula, follow this page for updates on closures, evacuations and preparations from local and state agencies.

Preparedness Tips

via Ready.gov


If possible — and if you’re in a safe place — we’d like to follow your whole story before, during and after the storm. You can choose a way to talk to us. Submit your story>>

Basic Tips


  • Know where to go if you are ordered to evacuate. Know the local hurricane evacuation routes and have a plan for where you can stay.
  • Put together a go-bag including flashlights, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications and copies of critical information like insurance paperwork.
  • If you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and your not able to leave due to flood waters or blocked roads.
  • Fill prescriptions early. Florida law requires insurance companies and managed care organizations to allow early refills in a state of emergency.

Preparing Your Home

  • Before a hurricane arrives, trim or remove damaged trees and limbs. Be sure you are able to safely dispose of or secure the debris before the storm arrives.
  • Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts, and clear debris to prevent water damage to your home.
  • Bring in all patio and outdoor furniture that could become a hazard in high winds.
  • Take this time to review your homeowners insurance and flood insurance policies to ensure your information is up-to-date.
  • If you are in a flood-prone area consider stocking up on sandbags from your city or county government. (Locations below)

Staying Connected

  • Ahead of the storm, follow advisories from local and state governments.
  • Get the latest storm updates from Florida Public Radio Emergency Network’s Florida Storms. Follow them on Facebook and download the app.
  • Continue to monitor TV and radio news for updates during the storm. In case you lose power, be sure to have a batter operated hand radio, and extra batteries, ready to go.

County by County: 

**Update: On Thursday night, Gov. Rick Scott ordered all Florida public schools, state colleges and universities closed Friday through Monday.**



Check Orange County Public Schools website for updates. 


A list of those shelters with information on what to bring to the shelters can be found at ocfl.net/Shelters or call 311.


The Islamic Center of Orlando will have 2 shelters for the families opening Saturday, Sep 9th at 9:00 AM

The Islamic Center of Orlando:           11543 Ruby Lake rd. Orlando fl 32836

Muslim Academy of Greater Orlando:  11551 Ruby Lake rd. Orlando Fl 32836.



Orange County Government is encouraging residents to prepare for Hurricane Irma and continues to monitor and assess updates from the National Hurricane Center.

Courts are closed starting Friday. State offices are also closed.

For storm preparedness information, please visit www.ocfl.net/storm

  • OCFL Alert is an emergency notification and information smartphone app that      provides critical information during times of emergency. Life-saving information      includes open shelter locations, water and ice distribution centers, evacuation routes, public service announcements and much more
  • OCFL News provides you with breaking news about Orange County Government in action. Stay informed of important information and emergency news releases through push notifications.
  • OCFL 311 is a smartphone app that allows users to photograph, pinpoint and report any problem you may encounter before, during or after the storm. All of this can be done directly from your smartphone to Orange County’s 311 Service Center.
  • OC ALERT is an alert system that allows Orange County Government to contact you via email or cell phone text message during an emergency affecting Orange County. Register free-of-charge for OCAlert, http://ocalert.net.

Seminole County


  • Sanford
    Starting Wednesday, September 6 7:00 a.m – 7 p.m. (Bring your own shovel, 15 bag max)
    Sports Complex Overflow Parking Lot
    3450 East Lake Mary Blvd, Sanford
  • Sanford
    Starting Wednesday, September 6 7:00 a.m – 7 p.m. (Bring your own shovel)
    Public Works Complex
    800 W. Fulton St., Sanford


UPDATED 3 P.M. FRIDAY: Schools will be closed Friday, Monday and Tuesday. More information.

Osceola County

Osceola County has fully activated its Emergency Operations Center and will open three shelters at noon Friday.

Kissimmee Middle

Harmony High

Liberty High

A special needs shelter will open at 3:00pm Friday

A list of Osceola County’s shelters is here.

Theme parks:

Disney, Universal, and Sea World all say they are monitoring storm but are staying open Friday as of now, with some refund procedures in place for guests uncomfortable with visiting Friday.


In anticipation of the forecast for Hurricane Irma, Osceola County residents will be provided materials to fill and make sand bags at several locations beginning Wednesday from noon until 7 p.m.

Click here for locations


All Osceola district public schools will be closed on Friday, September 8, and on Monday, September 11, due to Hurricane Irma. All school activities, events, and programs scheduled for those days are canceled. All schools will be in session Thursday, September 7 as normal, and current plans are for schools to reopen on Tuesday, September 12.

Brevard County


Sand bags will be available at four locations starting at 8 a.m. and will continue distributing through 6 p.m.. with services continuing during the same hours through Saturday or until supplies are gone.

The four locations are:

Chain of Lakes Park, 2300 Truman Scarborough Way, Titusville, FL 32796

Mitchell Ellington Park, 575 Hall Road, Merritt Island, FL 32953

Calvary Chapel Church, 2852 Fellowship Place, Viera, FL 32940

Eastern Florida State College, Palm Bay Campus, 250 Community College Parkway SE, Palm Bay, FL, 32909


Brevard County has announced a mandatory evacuation order starting at 3 PM Friday. This order is for Evacuation Zone A, which includes the barrier islands, Merritt Island and some mainland low-lying areas along the Indian River Lagoon. In addition, those who live in mobile or manufactured homes or in other flood-prone areas are also vulnerable and should evacuate, whether on the mainland or the barrier islands.

The evacuation order is effective at 3 PM Friday so that residents and visitors have a minimum of 24 hours in which to prepare their homes and take shelter before the arrival of tropical storm-force winds, which are expected overnight Saturday night.

Also at 3 PM Friday, the following shelters will open:

Port St. John Community Center, 6650 Corto Road, Port St. John
Viera Regional Community Center, 2300 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera
Wickham Park Community Center, 2815 Leisure Way, Melbourne
Ted Whitlock Community Center at Fred Poppe Regional Park, 1951 Malabar Rd NW, Palm Bay

General Population
Apollo Elementary School, 3085 Knox McRae Dr., Titusville
Imperial Estates Elementary School, 900 Imperial Estates Lane, Titusville
Space Coast Junior/Senior High, 6150 Banyan Street, Port St John
Walter Butler Community Center at Bernice Jackson Park, 4201 US Highway 1, Cocoa
Manatee Elementary School, 3425 Viera Blvd., Viera
Sherwood Elementary School, 2541 Post Road, Melbourne
Melbourne High School, 74 Bulldog Blvd., Melbourne
Meadowlane Intermediate Elementary, 2700 Wingate Blvd., West Melbourne
Heritage High School 2351 Malabar Rd., Palm Bay
Bayside High School, 1901 DeGroodt Rd. S.W. Palm Bay
South Mainland Community Center, 3700 Allen Ave., Micco

Special needs shelters will also open on Friday; telephone calls to registered clients will begin today, as County staffers determine which residents will require transportation via Space Coast Area Transit buses.

Although shelters will provide food, residents going to shelters will need to take their own supplies, including bedding, folding chairs or sleeping bags; any needed medications; multiple changes of clothing and sturdy shoes; personal hygiene items; and entertainment items, like games, cards, books, or magazines.

Residents who do not plan to stay in public shelters are encouraged to stay with family or friends on the mainland, and to evacuate tens of miles rather than hundreds of miles, as traffic on highways and interstates is likely to be heavier.


A local State of Emergency was declared for Brevard County on Wednesday in response to the pending threat of Hurricane Irma, and as the storm edges toward Florida, the decision was also made to close County government offices and cease non-essential operations on Friday.

A decision on a return to normal operations will be made as soon as an accurate assessment can be properly made, and will be communicated through local media outlets and Brevard County Government department leadership.

A local state of emergency is declared in advance of a potential disaster event and enables government entities to readily seek response or recovery assistance from the state.

Courts in Brevard County will be closed Friday and plans are to reopen on Tuesday. State Offices, including the Department of Health, will also be closed on Friday.


Schools will be closed Friday and Monday.

Volusia County


  • Ormond Beach
    Thursday, September 7 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. & Friday, September 8 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    Public Works Department
    501 N. Orchard Street, Ormond Beach
  • Daytona Beach
    Limit of 10 bags per vehicle
    Public Works Facility
    950 Bellevue Ave., Daytona Beach
  • Deltona
    Wednesday, September 6 from 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
    Public Works Depot
    201 Howland Blvd. (next to Walmart)
  • Edgewater
    Sand stations are self-serve, residents should bring their own bags and shovels
    Multiple Locations: 
    -Fire Station 57, 2628 Hibiscus Drive; Menard May Park, 413 South Riverside Drive; Mango Tree Lake, 901 Mango Tree Drive; Airpark staging area, 1989 Airpark Road.


Schools will be closed Friday and Monday.


Volusia County will open shelters on Saturday starting at 10am. The county is urging those in RV’s, mobile homes and manufactured homes in low-lying areas to evacuate.

Click for list of Volusia County shelters


Flagler County


Evacuations / Shelters

Officials are requesting voluntary evacuation of residents who live in the Woodlands, coastal areas and Intracoastal, and the low lying areas of western Flagler County near Dead Lake.

Residents living in Hurricane Evacuation Zones A, B, C and F (NOT Palm Coast alphabet sections) should consider leaving the area ahead of Hurricane Irma.

Evacuation Zone A includes everything east of the Intracoastal including Marineland, Hammock, Flagler Beach along A1A.

Evacuation Zone B includes the neighborhoods along Colbert Lane to the south, all of the C section and the F section east of Florida Park Drive and the F section east of Palm Harbor Parkway. This zone also includes the area east of Old Kings Road, south of State Road 100 including Bulow and its adjacent neighborhood, Grand Haven and western Flagler Beach.

Evacuation Zone C is the Woodlands area of Palm Coast.

Evacuation Zone F is in western Flagler County and includes areas near Dead Lake – St. Johns Park and the Haw Creek basin – as the St. Johns River, which feeds Dead Lake is tidal.

Flagler County has not yet opened emergency shelters, which are intended to serve as a last resort for those who are unable to otherwise evacuate the area.


Schools will be closed Friday and Monday.

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates. 

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Intersection' Producer

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts "Are We There Yet?", WMFE's space exploration podcast He also helps produce WMFE's twice-weekly public affairs show "Intersection," working with host Matthew Peddie to shape the ... Read Full Bio »