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Hurricane Irma strengthens as Florida governor declares state of emergency

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Orlando Sentinal
Sept 5, 2017

The storm became a Category 5 level hurricane Tuesday morning with 175 mph winds. Earlier, it grew in intensity from a Category 3 to a Category 4 Monday as it approached the Caribbean, where it is expected to strike Tuesday.

Even before Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in all of Florida’s 67 counties about 5 p.m., residents began stocking up on supplies. Spaces on water shelves at several Publix stores were empty. Generators were sold out by mid-afternoon at The Home Depot on Colonial Drive east of Sermoran Boulevard.

“We definitely started seeing an uptick [in shoppers],” Home Depot spokesman Matt Harrigan said.

On Monday night, Attorney General Pam Bondi activated a price-gouging hotline. State law prohibits undue increases on the price of food, water, hotels, ice, gasoline, lumber and other supplies needed in an emergency. The number is 866-966-7226.

Modeling by the National Hurricane Center shows the outer bands of the slow-moving, potentially dangerous storm, with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph, lashing Key West and Miami by 2 p.m. Saturday.

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This article was posted: Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 7:45 am

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