Oakville na­tive pre­pares for Irma

Glara Yi-Pow­ell lives on west coast of Florida

Metro Canada (Toronto) - - FRONT PAGE - David hains Metro | toronto

Florida has en­dured dozens of pow­er­ful storms in re­cent years, but Glara Yi-Pow­ell says her neigh­bours are treat­ing Hur­ri­cane Irma as an un­prece­dented threat.

“I have never seen so many homes with hur­ri­cane shut­ters,” says Yi-Pow­ell, a 48-yearold op­tometrist from Oakville who now lives in Es­tero on Florida’s west coast.

She and her hus­band have put up shut­ters, stocked up on a week’s worth of food and wa­ter and socked away some cash in prepa­ra­tion for Irma, which is break­ing records as it heads west­ward by the Vir­gin Is­lands and Puerto Rico.

The Cat­e­gory 5 storm has reached speeds close to 300 kilo­me­tres per hour. Be­cause of the un­cer­tainty in fore­cast­ing and mod­el­ling hur­ri­canes, weather ex­perts do not know ex­actly when and where it will make land­fall in the re­gion, but it will most likely hap­pen over the week­end.

Like her neigh­bours, Yi-Pow­ell will have to de­cide quickly whether to wait out the storm in her home or get as far away as she can. As a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure, she and her hus­band have booked a ho­tel room in north­ern Florida — but given Irma’s pro­jected path, they might need to push on to Ge­or­gia to find safety.

“We’re go­ing to make a de­ci­sion tonight,” she told Metro on Wed­nes­day.

On Twit­ter, Gov­er­nor Rick Scott asked all res­i­dents to make prepa­ra­tions and is­sued an evac­u­a­tion or­der for the Florida Keys.

Global Af­fairs Canada has ad­vised against “all travel to the re­gions in the path of Hur­ri­cane Irma,” warn­ing of its strength and un­pre­dictabil­ity.

“We are ad­vis­ing all Cana­di­ans to be pre­pared, have a plan and, most im­por­tantly, fol­low the ad­vice of lo­cal au­thor­i­ties,” wrote Global Af­fairs spokesper­son Bri­anne Maxwell in an email.

Some Cana­di­ans needed help to es­cape Irma’s path. Air Canada, WestJet and Air Transat sent down spe­cial flights on Wed­nes­day to pick up trav­ellers in Caribbean va­ca­tion spots and will pick up more peo­ple on Thurs­day. Glara Yi-Pow­ell

I have never seen so many homes with hur­ri­cane shut­ters.

Peo­ple load sand­bags into a truck in Sara­sota, Florida, on Wed­nes­day as they pre­pare for Hur­ri­cane Irma. Cana­di­ans are among those get­ting ready for the po­ten­tial dev­as­ta­tion of the storm.

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