'Do not shoot weapons at Irma': Florida sheriff forced to tell Americans not to fire guns at superstorm after bizarre event

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A sheriff in Florida has ordered residents not to fire their guns at Hurricane Irma after tens of thousands of people showed interest in a bizarre mass shooting when the storm arrived.

More than 53,000 people showed interest in a Facebook event titled “Shoot at Hurricane Irma”, while 25,000 others said they were going to take part.

“Let’s show Irma that we shoot first,” wrote the organisers, as Americans added “nothing in the world can break the spirit of Florida”, egging others on with the words: “Stay strong, shooters”.

The deadly superstorm, which ripped through the Caribbean on a six-day rampage, is due to hit the coast of Florida on Sunday.

Ryon Edwards, one of the creators of the “Shoot at Hurricane Irma” online phenomenon, told the BBC: “A combination of stress and boredom made me start the event.

“The response is a complete and total surprise to me. I never envisioned this event becoming some kind of crazy idea larger than myself.”

His event forced the sheriff’s office in Pasco County, on the west coast of the state, to tweet a message discouraging gun-owners from shooting into the storm.

“To clarify, DO NOT shoot weapons at Irma,” the sheriff said.

“You won’t make it turn around and it will have very dangerous side effects.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which studies the oceans and atmosphere, has previously said that every hurricane season the suggestion of using nuclear weapons to destroy the storms is suggested.

“Apart from the fact that this might not even alter the storm, this approach neglects the problem that the released radioactive fallout would fairly quickly move with the tradewinds to affect land areas and cause devastating environmental problems,” the centre said.

“Needless to say, this is not a good idea”.

The storm has reportedly strengthened to a category four hurricane as it heads towards south Florida, the National Hurricane Centre said early on Sunday morning UK time.

Irma has already sent squalls – violent and heavy gusts of wind – and tornadoes across the Sunshine State.

Millions of people have left their homes and tens of thousands more are holed up in shelters.

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