Florida Gov. Rick Scott is ordering the closing of all schools, colleges and universities throughout the state.
Scott announced late Thursday that all schools as well as state offices would be closed Friday through next Monday.
Many school districts and universities had already voluntarily agreed to close due to the looming arrival of Hurricane Irma over the weekend. But many school districts and colleges in north central and northwest Florida had remained open.
But in a brief statement Scott said he ordered all schools to shut down so that the buildings could be used potentially as shelters or as staging grounds for relief efforts.
He said Floridians “facing a life-threatening storm” and “every family must prepare to evacuate.”