Disney, Universal, SeaWorld Theme Parks Brace for Hurricane Irma
Irma is expected to remain a Category 4 storm when it hits someplace south of Miami on Sunday, with winds of up to 150 mph.
Two weeks after Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Texas, the state of Florida is preparing for Hurricane Irma. The state is home to several theme parks, which have been forced to shutter their doors in preparation for the Category 4 storm that killed at least 20 people in the Caribbean this week and left thousands more without homes.
SeaWorld tweeted that its Orlando park would be closed Saturday starting at 5 p.m. local time, and would remain closed through Monday.
Irma is expected to remain a Category 4 storm when it hits someplace south of Miami on Sunday, with winds of up to 150 mph. Citizens in some parts of Miami are being asked to leave their homes as soon as possible.
Over at Universal Studios Orlando, operations will remain open slightly later — until 7 p.m. on Saturday — according to the attraction's official Twitter account. Universal plans to be closed Sunday and Monday as well, but says "we anticipate normal operational hours" for Tuesday.
Disney parks and attractions (including Walt Disney World Resort) were being closed as well, the company said via its website. "Based on the latest forecasts for Hurricane Irma and keeping safety top of mind, Walt Disney World Resort will be closing early on Saturday, September 9 and will remain closed through Monday, September 11," the statement said. The company said they hope to resume park events Tuesday, and also pointed people to its hurricane guidelines.
About 1.4 million people across Florida and Georgia are being ordered to evacuate.
Irma is the most powerful hurricane on record in the Atlantic, with wind speeds peaking at 185 mph.
Sept. 8, 12:14 p.m. Updated with Disney's closure announcement