Hurricane Irma's affects could start hitting Sarasota County as early as 2 a.m. Sunday.
As the mandatory evacuation window closes, Sarasota County Emergency Services is asking that people get where they’re going to be Saturday night and stay there for the duration of Hurricane Irma.
“By this time, people should have already completed most of their preparations and gotten out of the way,” said Sarasota County Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane. “Time is running out.”
McCrane said residents could start feelings bands ahead of the storm as early as 10 a.m. Sunday morning — and some projections suggest those bands could come closer to 2 a.m.
“That is why we wanted people out of harm’s way in safe locations,” he said.
McCrane asked that tonight, people identify a “safe room” in their homes or shelter, and that they meet in that room as they start feeling the major affects of the storm. He also asked that people stay in their homes until they’re sure the storm has passed, and stay off the roads while officials work to clear threats.
The storm is expected to bring 6-10 feet of storm surge, 6-12 inches of rain and a lot of debris, according to McCrane.
“We just want people to realize this is a serious threat.”
The county has opened 10 emergency shelters. An updated list of open and pet-friendly shelters can be found here.