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Florida rushes fuel to Irma evacuation zones

08 Sep 2017 16:12 (+01:00 GMT)
Florida rushes fuel to Irma evacuation zones

Houston, 8 September (Argus) — State police escorted fuel trucks to evacuation zones today as Florida rushed to supply gasoline retailers before Hurricane Irma made landfall.

Governor Rick Scott urged residents to flee southern Florida and said fuel was a top priority. Police escorted tanker trucks to gas stations from the ports of Tampa and the Everglades, and would escort station employees staying as long as possible to continue fueling the Miami area for exodus.

Roughly 200,000 bl of fuel had shipped into Port Everglades and another roughly 120,000 bl arrived in Port Tampa.

Charters this week had booked most available articulated tug barges to move product from the New York Harbor into the region. Port Everglades would close this evening, cutting off gasoline resupply until after the storm, Scott warned.

Federal regulators and surrounding states waived trucking regulations as part of the resupply effort.

"We know there are problems with supply at gas stations and are working around the clock to get fuel to you," Scott said. "While we are making progress, unfortunately, you are going to see lines, and, unfortunately, you are going to see outages."

Irma had weakened to a category 4 storm, with sustained winds of at least 130 mpg (209 km/h). But conditions appeared to support the storm maintaining that strength across the Bahamas and into southern Florida, barreling up that state into Georgia, according to private forecaster MDA Weather Services.