Hurricane Irma is making landfall right now around 3:45pm on the Florida peninsula just south of Naples. Its projected path brings the eye over the densely populated area of west central Florida. The forecast of this storm brings potentially serious impacts to Pinellas County and the Tampa Bay area. It’s prompted many closures. In fact, much of state’s economy has gone completely silent. Everything is closed from gas stations, to grocery stores, to industrial districts.
Many of the major ports in the state are closed while the eye of this major hurricane passes. The port of Tampa shut down two days ago under expected gale force winds within 24 hours, condition Yankee. Today, many, if not, all the gas stations in the area are completely out of gas. The port is now in condition Zulu which means gale force winds are predicted to arrive within 12 hours. Under this condition all port operations are suspended, and the port is closed to vessel traffic. Under condition post storm, vessel movement and inbound cargo can occur only on approval, and land based operations will continue. Finally, the port will return to regular port condition IV, which will occur when the storm is no longer a threat. Gas will be distributed to gas stations as soon as conditions subside.
Saint Petersburg College is also closed. As the storm has progressed, and as the track has been updated over time I’ve seen gradual adjustments to the college’s closure window. Initially the closure was from Thursday through Monday. Then, Tuesday was added. In the most recent notice the closure update reads, “all Saint Petersburg College campuses are now closed and classes are canceled until further notice.”
Despite the many closures in the area and the impending major hurricane the community has been active. Many people are still very much present, and have been out during the mild pre-storm conditions.