The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami has reported that Irma’s northern eye-wall is about to reach the Key West area near the 7-mile bridge this morning as a category 4 hurricane and as the first official landfall on the state of Florida. As of 8am Irma’s maximum sustained winds were measured at 130 mph and the storm continues to move north-northwest at 8 mph.

Irma is expected to move over the Florida keys before moving along the Gulf Coast of Florida Sunday afternoon through Monday morning. Near 2am Monday morning Hurricane Irma will be just off the West Coast of Florida near Tampa which will bring tropical storm and hurricane force winds to Central Florida and Osceola County.

With Irma’s shift to the west coast of Florida it has saved Osceola County and certainly the east coast of Florida from the pummeling of the core strength of the storm, however, Irma is over 600 miles wide and Osceola County will be on the north east side of the storm, which will likely bring gusts between 75 and 90 mph early Monday morning, with the threat of tornados.

Curfew: No curfews have been issued by Osceola County at this time.

Shelters: Osceola County opened three pet-friendly shelters and a special needs shelter on Friday. Shelter occupancy was at more than 1,500 with a capacity of approximately 4,000 for the shelters that are currently open. The shelter at Liberty High School reached capacity at 2:45 p.m. this afternoon. Residents who need a pet-friendly shelter should go to Harmony High. As of 9 p.m., total shelter occupancy was 2,118 persons, as well as 177 dogs and 51 cats.

The pet-friendly shelter with available space is:
·         Harmony High School, 3601 Arthur J Gallagher Boulevard, St Cloud, FL 34771

Other shelters with available space are:
·         Celebration High School, 1809 Celebration Boulevard, Kissimmee, FL 34747
·         Horizon Middle School, 2020 Ham Brown Road, Kissimmee, FL 34746
·         Narcoossee Middle School, 2700 N. Narcoossee Road, St. Cloud, FL 34771
·         St. Cloud High School, 2000 Bulldog Lane, St. Cloud, FL 34769.

Residents are encouraged to frequently check for the most recent information.

Declaration of Emergency Extended: Thursday, the County Commission extended the local Declaration of Emergency through September 14, as a proactive way to provide access to emergency resources that may be necessary.

Sandbags: Sandbag operations have concluded, with a total distribution over the course of the event at approximately a quarter million bags of sand.

Garbage: Due to Hurricane Irma there will be no curbside collection service in the county, Monday, September 11.

Water: Residents are reminded that the tap is an excellent source of clean water, which can be stored in containers for drinking and cooking. Bath tubs also are great for holding larger amounts of water for washing and flushing toilets.