Hurricane Irma Prompts Officials to Close Key West Airport

September 5, 2017, 9:40 PM UTC

Key West International Airport will close Wednesday night for all commercial flights as Irma, a Category 5 hurricane with 185 mile-per-hour winds, is predicted to hit southern Florida this weekend.

Monroe County announced the closure Tuesday.

Monroe County also issued a mandatory evacuation for visitors starting 7 a.m. Wednesday. Residents must leave the area beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Florida officials announced partial evacuations for Miami-Dade County ahead of Hurricane Irma. The airport closure and evacuation announcements follow Gov. Rick Scott decision Monday to declare a state of emergency. The Republican governor has urged residents to think about their disaster plan.

Irma could be the first Category 5 hurricane to hit Florida since Hurricane Andrew 25 years ago. As officials, business leaders, and residents watch the path of Hurricane Irma, another storm is brewing in the Atlantic Ocean. Tropical Storm Jose is the 10th named storm of this hurricane season.

Forecasters expect Jose to become a hurricane by 8 a.m. ET Thursday.