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As Irma leaves the Caribbean, Florida prepares for impact


Updated September 08, 2017 01:46 PM EDT

Florida's emergency management division says nearly 6,000 people are already in shelters across the state as Irma approaches.

Most of the evacuees are gathered in shelters in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, where catastrophic Category 4 winds are expected to hit this weekend.

Hundreds of thousands of residents have fled in anticipation of Irma's winds and storm surge, which have already killed at least 20 people in the Caribbean. Many roads leaving the state have been jammed with traffic.

Gov. Rick Scott has directed all public schools, colleges and universities and state offices to close through Monday at least to make them available for shelter and staging of recovery efforts.

Meanwhile, Florida's theme parks are also closing because of Irma

Universal Orlando has announced it is closing its parks Saturday at 7pm and they will remain closed through Monday.

Sea World is also closing for Sunday and Monday.

Walt Disney World will shut down over the weekend in preparation for Irma's arrival in Florida. The park will be closed until Sept. 11.

President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago luxury resort in Palm Beach, Florida has been ordered to evacuate before Hurricane Irma reaches the U.S., according to The Sun Sentinel.

The Sentinel on Thursday reported that Mar-a-Lago is located inside one of two mandatory evacuation zones in Palm Beach County.

Palm Beach County officials that evening ordered roughly 125,000 residents to evacuate starting at 10 a.m. local time Friday morning.

“Please evacuate as we are now telling you,” County Administrator Verdenia Baker said, urging residents to find shelters, or stay with a friend or loved one. “Evacuate miles – not hundreds of miles.”

Some Twitter users on Friday expressed hope that Irma, the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane ever recorded, would impact Mar-a-Lago.

The Sentinel reported that evacuations are mandatory for homes in Palm Beach County’s Zones A and B.

Officials described Zone A as an area including Palm Beach County’s mobile homes and low-lying areas prone to “water intrusion.”

Zone B generally includes the county’s barrier islands, lands north and south of the Jupiter Inlet, and other sections along the Intracoastal Waterway vulnerable to storm surge.

Zone C is under a voluntary evacuation notice, and it generally includes properties from the Intracoastal Waterway west to U.S. Highway 1 in South County and Central County.

The third zone also has close to 138,000 residents, and it covers spots in close proximity to the Loxahatchee River and the northern tip of the Lake Worth Lagoon.

The Sentinel additionally reported that Zone A boasts approximately 49,000 residents while Zone B features roughly 74,000 residents.

Trumps has repeatedly stayed at Mar-a-Lago since his inauguration last January, leading some in the press to dub the resort the “winter White House.”

The Washington Post reported in July that protection for the club during Trump’s visits had cost taxpayers $6.6. million between then and the first month of year.

White House officials have frequently defended Trump’s stays at Mar-a-Lago and his other properties, arguing he remains productive wherever he works.

The Associated Press Contirbuted to this report

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