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Preparing for Irma: More than 50,000 head to Florida shelters

Published:Saturday | September 9, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Residents take shelter at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exhibition at Tamiami Park, as Hurricane Irma approaches Florida, on Saturday. - AP Photo

More than 50,000 people in Florida are seeking shelter in schools, community centres and churches as Hurricane Irma nears the state.

The government-sponsored shelters were open Saturday as officials warned 6.3 million Floridians to evacuate. The storm was expected to make landfall in Florida on Sunday. Those with nowhere to turn headed to the shelters while others sought lodging at hotels or with friends and family.

Red Cross shelter coordinator Steve Bayer said most people at shelters are grateful and happy.

Steve and Judith Smith of Orlando fled their mobile home and wound up at their local middle school after all the nearby hotels were sold out.