Hurricane Irma continues to pummel everything in its path as it moves between southeastern Cuba and the Turks and Caicos Islands early Friday morning. From there it will continue to move westward toward central Cuba and then onto the Bahamas.

This very dangerous hurricane was downgraded to an “extremely dangerous” category 4 storm on Friday, with sustained winds now reaching 155 mph, the US National Hurricane Center said.

Irma has already taken 10 lives as the storm has moved across small northeastern Caribbean islands like Barbuda and St. Martin/St. Maarten. Hundreds of thousands people were left without power after being ravaged from has been already recorded as the most powerful hurricane in the Eastern Atlantic.

Irma is expected to sustain its current wind speeds and continue to be at least a Category 4 hurricane until it makes its next major move and slide north into the Florida peninsula this weekend.

Central Florida and Osceola County specifically are now in the storm’s cross-hairs as the current track puts Irma making landfall near Miami and moving north directly through the center of the sunshine state and onto to Georgia and Atlanta. This places those who were planning on driving to Georgia as a sanctuary in a bit of a predicament on where to go for safety. We are already seeing those fleeing from the south making central florida their choice to ride out the storm, but with the latest track it makes that a questionable choice now.

Osceola County has announced their hurricane shelter locations, and all are dog and cat friendly and will open today (Friday) at noon.

Harmony High School, 3601 Arthur J Gallagher Boulevard, St Cloud, FL 34771
Kissimmee Middle School, 2410 Dyer Boulevard, Kissimmee, FL 34741
Liberty High School, 4250 Pleasant Hill Road, Kissimmee, FL 34746

If you plan on evacuating to one of these shelters, please make sure to bring your own crates, leashes, bowls, food, etc. With the uncertainty surrounding this storm, we advise packing enough pet food to last one week.

For more information, citizens are encouraged to speak with an Osceola County representative, call the Citizen Information Center at 407.742.0000.