According to the Florida Department of Emergency Management, Governor Rick Scott ordered an estimated 6.3 million Floridians to evacuate in preparation for Hurricane Irma. The governor ordered mandatory evacuations in the cities surrounding the southern half of Lake Okeechobee from Lake Port to Canal Point in Hendry, Palm Beach and Glades counties. He made this decision due to his focus on life safety as the hurricane approached. The seven cities affected by these orders are as follows:
- South Bay
- Lake Harbor
- Moore Haven
- Belle Glade
- Canal Point
The National Hurricane Center re-classified Irma as a category 4 cyclone before it reached the Everglade State. Category 4 is the second highest on the Saffir-Simpson scale and includes maximum sustained winds of 200 to 250 km per hour. Irma had the strength of category 5 twice before. It is the only tropical cyclone on record with sustained winds of 295 km per hour for 37 hours.
Florida ranks 4th in GDP among US states and is thus located on the 1×4 field of the G8x8 chess board. The state’s 2016 GDP amounted to $ 926.8 billion. This was 5.0 percent of the USA total, and more than the national production of countries such as Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, or Turkey.