Hurricane Irma chugged west on Monday, with Florida — and particularly the southern tip of the state — looking increasingly vulnerable.
Gov. Rick Scott declared a preemptive state of emergency for all 67 counties to enable state emergency management officials to start taking precautions.
“Hurricane Irma is a major and life-threatening storm and Florida must be prepared,” Scott said in a statement issued Monday. “In Florida, we always prepare for the worst and hope for the best and while the exact path of Irma is not absolutely known at this time, we cannot afford to not be prepared.”
State residents watched with a wary eye as Irma strengthened into a Category 4 storm forecast to grow even stronger over the next two days. While its potential threat to the U.S. was uncertain on Monday, Tampa Bay residents shaken by the devastation brought on by Hurricane Harvey in Texas a little more than a week ago stocked up on water and food, heeding warnings from forecasters to put this waiting period to good use.