In preparation for Irma's eventual landfall on Florida, Monroe County and coastal areas of Miami-Dade County started to evacuate on Wednesday.
'This could easily be the most costly storm in United States history, which is saying a lot considering what just happened two weeks ago, ' said Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami.
Because nothing says "save yourself from this oncoming natural disaster!" quite like announcing that you'll have police officers running background checks on anyone trying to find refuge from the storm. One of the things that he mentioned was the banning of sex offenders in every shelter. "Period. Our shelters are going to be safe".
In an interview with Fox 13, the sheriff reiterated that his Twitter posts are meant to give a fair warning for those who were issued with warrants since they still have several days to sort out their infractions before they choose to stay in a shelter.
"This definitely won't cause anyone to try to ride out the storm because they have too many unpaid parking tickets or whatever". "We don't arrest people people for simple traffic offenses".
Polk County is in central Florida and includes the city of Lakeland.
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"We see that people [on Twitter] are upset, but the bottom line is the shelters are here to protect people and we want people to be safe", Horstman told the newspaper.
Polk County, between Orlando and Tampa, is home to about 600,000 people.
It was only weeks ago that another hurricane - this one bound for Texas - stoked fears about who would be allowed into emergency shelters.
"If you look for a shelter from Irma, be warned: sworn officers will be at each shelter to monitor the identities".
Are you saying those without an ID will be turned away from shelter? "We need to know who is in there".