The National Hurricane Center is calling Irma a potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 185 MPH.
The exact trajectory of Irma is unknown, but it is nearing the Leeward Islands. There are currently states of emergency in the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Florida, and evacuation orders were announced in the Florida Keys.
Key West Transit suspended all fare for all routes today, and Monroe County issued mandatory evacuations effective tomorrow at 7am for all visitors and tourists, and at 7pm for all residents.
Monroe County Emergency Management Director Martin Senterfitt stated today, "If ever there was a storm to take seriously in the Keys, this is it ... The sooner people leave, the better.”
We could not agree with him more, because when it comes to disaster preparedness, the goal is to make well-informed decisions in advance, while we're still able to calmly and safely do so.
This, of course, includes the safety of our pets. As we so recently learned from Hurricane Harvey, leaving pets behind during an emergency is like signing a death sentence for our beloved family members. However, evacuating comes with many challenges, and if we don't know how or where we can bring our pets, we sometimes stay behind; putting ourselves and animals at risk.
Click here for tips to ensure the highest potential of survival for our family pets, horses, farm animals and ourselves.
Photo: Dog tries to swim to safety during flood, 2011/Sudson