Fox News Weather Center

Reports: Florida evacuations to begin soon as 2.7 million Miami residents stock up on dwindling supplies

Florida remains under a state of emergency as residents prepare for a likely threat from the powerful Hurricane Irma. The storm is expected to impact parts of Florida's southeastern coast on Sunday.

"Irma is only one of five known hurricanes during the satellite era to have reached sustained winds of 185 mph or higher," said AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

State officials have begun ordering evacuations ahead of the dangerous storm. A mandatory evacuation was issued for visitors to the Florida Keys on Wednesday morning, with plans to suspend commercial air traffic from Key West International Airport by Wednesday night.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez urged the county's 2.7 million residents to stock up on supplies and to expect evacuation orders in some areas on Wednesday.

Hurricane Irma preparation - Miami, Florida

Miami resident Eduardo Soriano waited since dawn to purchase plywood sheets at a Home Depot store in North Miami on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. Florida residents are preparing for the possible landfall of Hurricane Irma. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Meanwhile, Florida Gov. RIck Scott has suspended tolls across the state's highways to help expedite the evacuation and supply-gathering process for residents.

The islands of Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin and Anguilla in the northern Leeward Islands took a direct hit from Irma on Wednesday morning. Catastrophic damage is expected on these islands from winds of more than 150 mph, as well as a deadly storm surge of at least 12 feet.

9:50 a.m. EDT Wednesday: People in Florida are experiencing long wait times for gas, water and other essentials ahead of Hurricane Irma, with some gas stations already running out of fuel and grocery stores dwindling on supplies.

South Tampa yesterday. The prep for #irma is very real here.

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