Florida governor makes final evacuation plea as Irma threatens state
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Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) made a final plea Saturday for residents to evacuate the state's coastal communities and seek shelter elsewhere, as Hurricane Irma threatens to envelop the peninsula.

"Evacuate now," Scott said at a dire news conference in Sarasota on the state's Gulf Coast. "Not tonight, not in an hour, you need to go right now. If you’re in an evacuation zone, leave."

The governor warned of deadly storm surge that could reach from six to 12 feet, enough to cover residents' homes, and urged people to seek refuge in county shelters.


"This will cover your house," he said. "You will not survive all this storm surge. This is a life-threatening situation.”

Scott's comments came as Hurricane Irma, a powerful Category 4 storm with maximum sustained wind speeds of 130 miles per hour, bore down on parts of Cuba and prepared to make landfall in the Florida Keys.

This week, the storm ripped through the Caribbean as a Category 5 hurricane, demolishing islands throughout the region on its way toward the U.S. mainland.

Now, as the storm threatens Florida, state and federal officials are acting aggressively to make final preparations, Scott said.

The governor said he has spoken to White House officials "almost every day" leading up to the storm, and that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit MORE has "promised all federal resources" necessary for responding to the threat.

"This is a catastrophic storm. We’ve never seen this before," Scott said. "It’s bigger than our state.”

More than 260 shelters are open across Florida's 67 counties, and some 5.6 million people have been asked to seek shelter away from their homes, marking the largest evacuation in the state's history. 

By Friday, necessities like gas and bottled water were in short supply in some areas as residents desperately sought to ready themselves for the storm.

Scott said Saturday that the state was working to ensure that fuel would be available.

“After the storm, as soon as we can get fuel trucks moving, we’ll do it again.” he said. “We all know fuel’s important, and we’re going to devote every state resource we can to get fuel here.”