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Palm Beach County declares state of emergency as Irma approaches

Posted at 6:04 AM, Sep 06, 2017

Palm Beach County leaders declared a state of emergency Wednesday morning as Hurricane Irma posed a major threat to South Florida.

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The city of West Palm Beach is actively preparing for the threat of the storm.

Mayor Jeri Muoio and city emergency managers said Wednesday they urge all residents and visitors to prepare now for potential effects of Irma.

Residents should monitor news and information from the city, including having enough food, water and emergency supplies to last for at least three days. Residents should adhere to all city and county advisories, including potential evacuation orders.

“Hurricane Irma has the potential to cause catastrophic damage and widespread destruction in South Florida,” said Muoio. “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of preparing for this storm and following local advisories closely. If you are asked to evacuate, you must evacuate. ”

The city is not announcing any evacuations or curfews yet.

On Friday, all city offices will be closed. Parks and Recreation after-school programs will be cancelled, beginning Thursday. Thursday’s "Clematis by Night" and Friday’s "Screen on the Green" is canceled.

The city is determining if parking will be allowed in its garages during the storm.

With the presence of cranes downtown, the city’s Building Division is making construction site visits to meet with contractors to ask them to secure construction cranes.

Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Avossa met with EOC leaders Wednesday to discuss the process of opening some Palm Beach County schools as shelters and when that would take place.

Public schools are closed on Thursday and Friday across our area.

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson will visit the Palm Beach County EOC at 2 p.m. Wednesday to talk with leaders about their preparations.