east and north across the state, hitting the Treasure Coast
with tropical storm force winds as low as 55 mph but gusting
higher, and low Category 1 hurricane force winds of about 75
mph in a some places. Gusts in those areas went to 100 mph,
damaging trees, roofs and some docks.
Frightened residents across the state, Treasure Coast people
among them, fled ahead of the storm in the biggest evacuation
in the state’s history. Perhaps sensitized by the devastation of
Hurricane Harvey in Texas shortly before Irma reared her ugly
head, and perhaps energized and motivated by the pleas of
Gov. Rick Scott and local officials, people packed up and left
early, not waiting until the storm was upon them to decide.
Local emergency managers along the Treasure Coast said
they thought residents and local governments were more
prepared than they ever had been in the past.
“We were all ready for a Category 4 and we got a Category
1,” said Sam Amerson, interim city manager of Stuart.
Stocking up early left grocery store shelves empty earlier than
usual, but stores also had time to restock. Although fuel supplies
did run short, the state was prepared and tankers came in,
some with security escorts. A new law requiring gas stations to
have generators, helped, Treasure Coast officials said.
Many who stayed headed for shelters. St. Lucie County
Administrator Howard Tipton said there were 3,300 people in
that county’s shelters, with 250 people and their 150 caregivers
in a special needs shelter, plus 65 pets in the county’s long
awaited pet-friendly shelter. More people than usual left the
barrier islands, he said.
In 2004, the county used its civic center for a special needs >>
ST. LUCIE COUNTY
Gusts: 100 mph Sustained: 70 mph
Gusts: 75 mph Sustained: 65 mph
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY
Gusts: 75 mph Sustained: 55 mph
Winds from the outer bands of Irma surpassed 100 mph on the Treasure Coast.