Expect to lose power when hurricane hits area





Okeechobee County residents should be prepared to lose power when winds from Hurricane Irma hit the area.

According to the National Weather Service 5 p.m. forecast, tropical storm winds can be expected in Okeechobee County starting around sunrise Sunday to mid-morning Monday with damaging winds from mid-afternoon Sunday through early morning Monday. Some bands could hit the area earlier.

This forecast could change as the storm moves closer.

The area may also receive 8-12 inches of rainfall.

Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel Stephen advises all residents to stay indoors until the storm passes. The sheriff department is enforcing a countrywide curfew starting at 9 p.m. tonight.

Thousands of area residents have sought refuge in shelters as Hurricane Irma approaches Florida.

As of 5 p.m. on Saturday, Okeechobee County had opened two shelters. The primary shelter at South Elementary School is full with 506 persons; Osceola Middle School shelter had 330 persons and had room for another 350. If the OMS shelter is filled, a third shelter will be opened at Yearling Middle School. For more shelter information online go to http://www.co.okeechobee.fl.us/home.

Palm Beach County shelters had about 17,000 persons as of 5 p.m. Lee County had about 27,000. Hendry County had 1,400 persons in shelters. St. Lucie County had about 2,000.
For shelter information in Palm Beach County online, go to http://discover.pbcgov.org/publicsafety/dem/Publications/Shelters%20With%20Evac%20Zones.jpg.

Publisher/Editor Katrina Elsken can be reached at kelsken@newszap.com

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