Authorities in Florida were forced to warn people not to follow advice from a Facebook event to shoot at Hurricane Irma. The joke event prompted the Pasco County Sheriff's Office to issue a warning as Irma crossed the Florida Keys.

"Let's show Irma that we shoot first," the event's description read. According to USA Today, more than 54,000 people signed up for the event, prompting the sheriff's office to tweet a warning to the public.

"To clarify, DO NOT shoot weapons @ #Irma. You won't make it turn around & it will have very dangerous side effects," Pasco County Sheriff's Office tweeted.

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco added: "Over 99% of the people out there have common sense and are listening, but we in law enforcement deal with the 1%, so we are trying to get the message to them."

While many, including the event's organizers, took it as a joke, some appeared to take the event seriously and posted pictures of themselves with what appeared to be firearms, Newsweek reported.

Ryon Edwards, who created the Facebook event, told the BBC earlier this week that he did not expect people to take the event seriously. "A combination of stress and boredom made me start the event. The response is a complete and total surprise to me," the 22-year-old said.

Edwards told USA Today that he found the Pasco Sheriff's response hilarious. "I figured (law enforcement officers) of all people would understand the humour behind (the group)," he said.

The DeLand resident said he believes the event's popularity could be because people did not realise it was a joke.

"Well guys, it's here. The moment we've been waiting for. It was cool to see the response this got from facebook. On another note, I've learned that about 50% of the world could not understand sarcasm to save their lives. Carry on," he wrote.