NAPLES, Fla. - Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma.

“Hurricane Irma is a major and life-threatening storm and Florida must be prepared," he said in a statement. "I have continued to be briefed by the Florida Division of Emergency Management on Hurricane Irma and current forecast models have Florida in Irma’s path – potentially impacting millions of Floridians."

The declaration allows the state's 67 counties ample time, resources and flexibility to prepare for the storm, Scott said.

"In Florida, we always prepare for the worst and hope for the best and while the exact path of Irma is not absolutely known at this time, we cannot afford to not be prepared," he said. "This state of emergency allows our emergency management officials to act swiftly in the best interest of Floridians without the burden of bureaucracy or red tape."

Irma, which strengthened to a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds, is expected to reach the Caribbean on Tuesday.

Its impact on Florida remains unknown.

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