“Hurricane Irma is a major and life-threatening storm, and Florida must be prepared,” Mr. Scott said in a statement. The last hurricane to hit Florida was Matthew last October, which brushed up along its east coast before making landfall in South Carolina as a Category 1 storm.

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Grocery store shelves of water were empty in Puerto Rico as residents prepared for the arrival of Hurricane Irma in the next few days.

Credit
Alvin Baez/Reuters

Mr. Scott said on Twitter that he had discussed the storm on Monday with President Trump, who “offered the full resources of the federal government as Floridians prepare for Hurricane Irma.”

Coast Guard crew members and helicopters that assisted in rescue missions in southeast Texas for Hurricane Harvey were also starting to return to their home stations, including Florida, to prepare for Irma, a Coast Guard spokesman said.

American Airlines announced late Monday that it had canceled several flights on Tuesday between Miami and the Caribbean destinations.

“For people in South Florida, now is the time to start preparing and getting those hurricane kits in order,” Chuck Caracozza, a meteorologist at National Weather Service in Miami, said.

Puerto Rico and the British and U.S. Virgin Islands are expected to feel Irma’s effects as a “dangerous major hurricane” as soon as Wednesday, the service said. If the peak storm surge coincides with high tide, water levels in the Virgin Islands may reach heights of 7 to 11 feet above ground.

The storm is also expected to bring 4 to 8 inches of rain, though parts of the northern Leeward Islands, the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, may see up to a foot, according to the service.

Hurricane Irma, which surfaced as a tropical storm off Africa shortly after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas last month, has intensified in recent days, gaining strength from the Caribbean’s warmer waters.

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