Hurricane Irma has already hit the Caribbean.
Like cities across Florida, Port Orange is gearing up for the potential threat of Hurricane Irma, now a category 5 hurricane.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration reported that Irma is moving toward the west-northwest at about 16 miles per hour, which is expected to continue for the next few days.
The hurricane is predicted to pass near the Turks and Caicos and southeastern Bahamas late Thursday. Maximum sustained winds are around 185 miles per hour in addition to higher gusts.
On Wednesday, Sept. 6, the city announced sandbags will be distributed at several locations throughout the city from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. According to the city, there is a 10 bag limit per household on the self-fill sandbags. Because of this, residents are being asked to bring a shovel.
Bags brought on an individual basis should be small trash bags and double bagged. Citizens picking up sandbags will need to provide identification, such as a driver's license or utility bill, showing proof of residency.
According to Volusia County Schools, all district public schools within the county will be closed Friday, September 8, and Monday, September 11, due to Irma. Several schools are planned to open as shelters on Saturday. Those school names and opening times will be announced by Volusia County Emergency Management.
Any additional school schedule changes will be made on Monday, according to Volusia County Schools.
On Tuesday, Sept. 5, the Port Orange city council discussed the hurricane and how it could potentially affect the budget currently under review.
"We are facing a pretty large storm coming in, and if it does impact us we are in a difficult position because we have spent a large portion of our reserves." Bob Ford, Port Orange vice mayor
Vice Mayor Bob Ford said the budget may need to be altered if the storm hits and the city needs to focus on any loses.
"We are facing a pretty large storm coming in, and if it does impact us we are in a difficult position because we have spent a large portion of our reserves," Ford said. "We are beyond the council's set minimum for reserves because we're waiting on payment from FEMA."
According to Mayor Don Burnette, Port Orange is still waiting on its FEMA reimbursement from last year. Burnett added that he has contacted U.S. senators about the funds in hopes of receiving the reimbursement.
Port Orange officials have announced there will be a special meeting at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 7 to discuss Hurricane Irma and its impact within the area. The meeting will be held at the council chambers.