Hurricane Irma live blog: 17,000 in Hillsborough shelters

11PM Hurricane Irma Update

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- As Hurricane Irma makes its approach to Florida, 10News wants to help everyone weather this storm together.

Here's the latest information for Saturday, Sept. 9:

10:57 p.m.: More than 17,000 people had taken refuge in Hillsborough County shelters by Saturday evening.

10:08 p.m.: Frontier Communications operations teams in the Tampa Bay area will discontinue field operations in the Tampa Bay area for Sunday and Monday. To report service troubles to Frontier, call 1-800-921-8101. It is also available in Español at 1-800-921-8103. However, no work will be dispatched on Sunday or Monday. A decision about work schedules following Monday will be decided sometime on Monday.

9:45 p.m.: The Bartow Police Department has issued a curfew for the city of Bartow effective at noon Saturday, Sept. 9. Officials are asking residents to stay inside until Hurricane Irma passes.

r8:55 p.m.: The Florida Highway Patrol says the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is reopened.

6:56 p.m.: The Florida Highway Patrol has decided to shut down the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. 

4:47 p.m.: Based on the latest weather projections, access to enter barrier islands in Pinellas County will be shut down at 6 a.m. Sunday. This applies to all individuals and businesses, and includes all barrier islands from the Dunedin Causeway to Tierra Verde. Individuals exiting the barrier islands will not be restricted. A re-entry decision will be made and announced after the hurricane passes and safety assessments are completed.

There is a mandatory evacuation order for all sidents in evacuation zone levels A and B, as well as all mobile home residents countywide.

4:45 p.m.: The University of South Florida will be closed through Tuesday.

4:16 p.m.  Due to the increasing threat of Hurricane Irma, Florida Hospital North Pinellas is closing and evacuating patients to safer locations. The Florida Hospital Palm Harbor ER, a service of Florida Hospital North Pinellas, will remain open, the address is 34106 US Highway 19 North, Palm Harbor, FL 34684 and the phone number is (727) 401-3900.

2:28 p.m.: The following BayCare facility patients will be transferred to Winter Haven facility:

  • Community Recovery Center, New Port Richey
  • Integrated Stabilization Unit, New Port Richey
  • Morton Plant North Bay Recovery Center, Lutz
  • Statewide Integrated Psychiatric Program, New Port Richey

The ability to transfer patients will be limited, so it will be closed at 10 a.m. except in emergency. 

2:14 p.m.: Duke Energy is not de-energizing services in any area to expedite evacuations. On occasion, we may de-energize services at the request of emergency management officials. Please remember to adhere to your state and local emergency management for updates and information regarding evacuations.  

1:19 p.m. Florida's governor is issuing urgent warnings to a third of his state's residents to evacuate ahead of a massive hurricane on track to be the state's most catastrophic ever.

Gov. Rick Scott says the entire west coast of Florida will likely see dangerous affects from storm surge as Hurricane Irma comes ashore Sunday. About 6.3 million of the state's approximately 21 million residents have been asked to evacuate.
 
During a Saturday news conference, he told those in evacuation zones: "You need to leave - not tonight, not in an hour, right now"
 
Scott said that the storm surge is expected to be up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) in some areas along the west coast of Florida. In the Tampa Bay area, Scott said the storm surge could be between 5 feet (1.5 meters) and 8 feet (2 meters).
 
Scott said: "This is the most catastrophic storm the state has ever seen."

1:01 p.m.:  Polk County schools will be closed through Tuesday.

12:53 p.m.  Pinellas and Hillsborough County schools will be closed through Tuesday.

12:15 p.m. The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for all of South Florida until midnight.

Noon Sarasota County leaders spoke on preparations ahead of Hurricane Irma.

The county issued a voluntary evacuation notice for Level B residents. A mandatory evacuation still in effect for Level A and mobile home residents.

11:20 a.m. Citrus County Schools are closed through Tuesday because of Hurricane Irma.

11:15 a.m. Hillsborough County Schools are closed through Tuesday because of Hurricane Irma.

11 a.m. Pinellas County leaders spoke on preparations ahead of Hurricane Irma.

11 a.m. Hurricane Irma continues to weaken because of the influence from Cuba. It now is a 125-mph, Category 3 storm.

It still is forecast to restrengthen once it enters the Straits of Florida because of the warm water.

10:25 a.m. The Florida of Department of Transportation is closing Snapper Creek service plaza on the Turnpike in Miami.

FDOT will close the Pompano and West Palm Service plazas at noon in order to allow staff to return to their homes in time for the 3:00 p.m. local curfew.

The remaining plazas will close from south to north as conditions worsen. FDOT will close each in time to secure equipment and evacuate our staff prior to the arrival of tropical storm force winds.

10:15 a.m. Manatee County issued a voluntary evacuation notice for Level B residents. A mandatory evacuation is still in effect for Level A and mobile home residents in the county.

10 a.m. Hillsborough County officials held a news conference on preparations ahead of Hurricane Irma.

9:30 a.m. Gov. Rick Scott spoke in Sarasota County on preparations ahead of Hurricane Irma.

Florida needs volunteer nurses to help at special needs shelters for Hurricane Irma.

If you can help, please email BPRCHDPreparedness@flhealth.gov.

8:45 a.m. Pinellas County has issued mandatory evacuations for residents in Zone B effective immediately. The county is opening 10 additional emergency shelters.

8 a.m.: Hurricane Irma has weakened to a 130-mph, Category 4 storm. Cuba and its land effects have weakened the storm, but restrengthening is expected as it moves over the very warm waters of the Straits of Florida.

7:45 a.m.: The Skyway Bridge closes at 40 mph sustained winds, but this is the only bridge that closes at a specific numerical wind value. 

Bridges like Gandy, Howard Frankland and Courtney Campbell will not close until troopers deem them unsafe. 

6 a.m.: The impacts from Hurricane Irma are becoming clearer. 

The biggest impacts of this storm are damaging winds and storm surge. Winds up to 120 mph are possible, especially late Sunday into early Monday morning. So, too, are the possibility of quick spin-up tornadoes.

A 5-9 foot storm surge is possible starting late Saturday into Sunday for southwest Florida. About 5-7 feet are possible in Tampa Bay.

5:45 a.m.: Riders of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority can begin using the HART Emergency Evacuation Bus system, which will shuttle people between four area shelters.

5 a.m.: Hurricane Irma is a 155-mph, Category 4 storm as of the National Hurricane Center's 5 a.m. update. 

3:27 a.m.: "It's not too late to get off the Keys!!!" the weather service in Key West tweeted early Saturday. "You still have time, this morning, to get out!

"Please, the Keys are not safe!"

2:49 a.m.: We are aware of RUMORS on social media regarding utility company plans to turn off power ahead of Hurricane Irma.

There is NO truth to this. If your power goes out in the next day or two, it likely is because of the storm itself.

IF we hear otherwise, we will let you know.

List: Hurricane Irma evacuation notices, shelters in Tampa Bay

Track the tropics: Download the 10News app

2 a.m.: Irma is about 275 miles south-southeast of Miami as of the latest update from the National Hurricane Center. It is moving west at 13 mph.

The minimum central pressure is 930 mb.

Midnight: Numerous hurricane watches and warnings are in effect for Florida. Check the running list for the latest.

Photos: Hurricane Irma damage and destruction

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