Miami-Dade Orders Coastal Evacuation as Hurricane Irma Threatens
September 6, 2017
More than 100,000 Miami-Dade residents were instructed to leave their homes on barrier islands, including Miami Beach, and in low-lying mainland areas starting Thursday morning in preparation for Hurricane Irma, as Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued evacuation orders for one of the worst storms to ever face Miami.
Via Miami Herald:
National Weather Service's forecast for probable path of Hurricane Irma.
“Irma remains a strong Category 5 hurricane,” Gimenez said at a 7 p.m. news briefing in the county’s emergency center in Doral. “Significant weakening is not expected.”
His order, which takes effect at 7 a.m. Thursday, covered all of the “A” evacuation zone as well the portion of “B” that covers barrier islands between Biscayne Bay and the ocean. Those include Miami Beach, as well as Bal Harbour, Bay Harbor Islands, Golden Beach, Indian Creek Village, North Bay Village, Sunny Isles Beach and Surfside. Key Biscayne and Virginia Key sit in the A zone and are covered by the order. Gimenez also ordered residents of mobile homes across the county to evacuate as well. In all, about 150,000 people are covered by the order.
So here are the current evacuation maps for Miami-Dade. One zooms in between Golden Beach and Virginia Key. pic.twitter.com/GSIDRKgAUy— Doug Hanks (@doug_hanks) September 7, 2017
Gimenez’s office also announced the opening of four hurricane shelters Wednesday afternoon, with four more — which the county did not identify — opening Thursday morning.
The evacuation orders are the largest since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, and came as Miami-Dade was the regional holdout in not instructing at least some residents to flee in advance of the storm. Broward issued its evacuation orders for coastal areas on Wednesday morning and said 14 shelters would be opening. On Tuesday, Monroe County ordered residents and tourists to begin leaving Wednesday.
As Gimenez resisted ordering the evacuations, both Miami Beach and Miami urged its residents in vulnerable areas to leave anyway. And while earlier in the week he said evacuation orders were probably coming for the A and B zones, his order was more limited, sparing Miami’s Brickell Avenue and other mainland areas within B. The zones, available here, track storm surge projections, and the evacuation orders reflect concerns of dangerous flooding in the areas.
The limited order could give Miami-Dade a chance to lessen the gridlock that comes with a larger exodus as block-long gas lines and mobbed sandbag giveaways clogged traffic throughout the county. Gimenez said anyone interested in leaving Miami-Dade altogether should do so quickly. “If you do it later, you may be caught in a flood of traffic trying to leave the area,” he said. “You may find yourself in a car during a hurricane, which is not the best place to be.”
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