Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

Hurricane Irma Bears Down on Southern Florida

Sunday, September 10, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. EST

According to the NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Irma was upgraded to a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale as it made contact with the Florida Keys early on Sunday morning. As the hurricane moves north-northwest over the Florida Keys and into the mainland, the NHC predicts it will continue on a northern path inland across Florida into Monday, arriving at southwestern Georgia by Monday afternoon.

Storm surge is predicted to be very dangerous as a result of Hurricane Irma as the NOAA’s NHC has predicted some areas could experience up to 15 feet of storm surge. As experts discussed with the Chicago Tribune, “storm surge occurs when heavy winds push the ocean onto the land.” The danger of this salt water being pushed into land is, as explained by storm surge specialist Jamie Rhome, “the rising seas could cause fatalities among people who do not evacuate”, continuing, “you’re talking about communities and areas inundated by salt water.”

The NOAA’s National Weather Service predicts storm has depicted some of the estimated levels of storm surge as a result of Hurricane Irma below:

NOAA NWS Depiction of Irma’s Storm Surge

FEMA has cautioned residents that are in Irma’s path to seek shelter above storm surge and flooding levels.

FEMA Shelter in Place Advisory

Public Advisories

Here’s the breakdown of public advisories from NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) 11:00 AM EST, September 10, 2017 update:

  • Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:
    • South Santee River southward to Jupiter Inlet
    • North Miami Beach southward around the Florida peninsula to the Ochlockonee River
    • Florida Keys
    • Tampa Bay
  • Hurricane Warning is in effect for:
    • Fernandina Beach southward around the Florida peninsula to Indian Pass
    • Florida Keys
    • Lake Okeechobee
    • Florida Bay
    • Cuban provinces of Matanzas and La Habana
  • Hurricane Watch is in effect for:
    • North of Fernandina Beach to Edisto Beach;
  • Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
    • West of Indian Pass to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line
    • North of Fernandina Beach to South Santee River
  • A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:
    • Bimini and Grand Bahama

For all current updates, please refer to products from your local weather service.

Evacuations Orders Across the Southeast U.S.*



South Carolina:

*Evacuation notifications are subject to change and should be actively monitored. Hagerty recommends consulting your local government for official changes in evacuation guidance.


Major Disaster


Resources and Related Links

Hurricane Harvey Recovery and Relief Resources:

Many of the areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey remain hazardous disaster zones and are still in the earliest stages of recovery. To be part of recovery efforts, please see resources listed below:

Hurricane Irma News and Updates:

  • The National Hurricane Center regularly updated tracking of Hurricane Irma: link
  • Remember, Ready.gov provides information on how to prepare for a storm and how to keep you and your family safe: link

Hagerty Consulting is an emergency management consulting firm that helps our clients prepare for and recover from disasters. Established in 2001, Hagerty Consulting’s work includes some of the nation’s largest recovery and preparedness projects in more than 30 states, including 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy.

You can learn more about our disaster recovery practice here.