Watch CBS News

Hurricane Irma "is packing one heck of a punch"

Fla. governor on Hurricane Irma
Florida governor to residents ahead of Irma: "Don't be complacent" 02:10

Florida is bracing for Hurricane Irma, which is expected to turn north in the Atlantic and barrel directly toward the state starting Saturday. South Florida is under a hurricane warning, and 1.4 million people live in Florida's mandatory evacuation areas.

Gov. Rick Scott, who has ordered all Florida public schools statewide to close so the buildings can be used as shelters, urged Floridians: "Don't be complacent."

"We're not sure exactly where this is going to go. Listen to the evacuation orders. Think about your life, think about your family's life. But five to 10 feet of storm surge in the southern part of the state – think about that. That's going to cover homes. We're not a high state. We don't have mountains in the state," Scott said Friday on "CBS This Morning."

View from above: Hurricane Irma puts Miami coastline in peril 02:51

Scott said Irma will be larger than Hurricane Andrew, which leveled parts of the Miami area in 1992.

"If you're close to the coast, the storm surge can be devastating. We didn't have that in Andrew. It's totally different than Andrew," Scott said. "We're going to have horrible winds but it's going to be storm surge that really worries me."

In Miami Beach's largest evacuation since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, more than 90,000 residents of the city have been ordered to leave. Mayor Philip Levine says the city is "trying everything" to make that happen and is urging residents to get to a shelter.

Mayor urges people to "leave Miami Beach" and get to shelters 03:41

"I make a special appeal to our residents or any visitors that happen to be here: get out of Miami Beach. We don't need heroes. We're all about safety. Your safety," Levine said on "CBS This Morning." "Leave Miami Beach. This is a small, low-lying barrier island. This hurricane is of a magnitude, of strength of historical proportions."

He and first responders are identifying homeless, special needs and elderly populations to help them evacuate.  

"We've met with the various buildings that house a lot of our elderly. We've made sure we could get them and bring them over to shelters and assisted every way we possible could. I've gone out. I know the elderly population here very, very well. And so we have made sure that we could aggressively push them and move them out of Miami Beach," Levine said.  

While the city has installed portable pumps and generators, Levine said they won't be able to handle what Irma has in store.

"I tell people the pumps we put in and all our generators, they're for sea level rise which we experience here of course with a moderate rain. They are no match for a hurricane, let alone Hurricane Irma, which is packing one heck of a punch," Levine said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.