Residents and tourists from southern Florida began evacuation today in the wake of hurricane Irma, the largest recorded in the Atlantic, to reach this region over the weekend.
Monroe County in southern Florida and Miami-Dade are in a state of emergency as they find themselves on the path that National Hurricane Center (NHC) experts estimate for the eye of the cyclone, which moves winds from 185 miles per hour (295 kilometers per hour).
Florida Governor Rick Scott today asked residents in the region to be prepared, as Irma is “bigger, stronger and faster” than Andrew, who is referred to as a destructive hurricane since he destroyed thousands in 1992 of homes and caused the direct death of 26 people in South Florida.
At a press conference at the Monroe County Emergency Operations Center, which covers the Florida Keys, Scott urged citizens to obey evacuation orders from local authorities.
Monroe’s Director of Emergency Management, Martin Senterfitt, said that “it will be better for people to leave the area as soon as possible,” while Irma continues her western course from the northernmost islands of the Lesser Antilles.
On its way, the cyclone will pass off the north coast of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti) and Cuba and over the southern islands of the Bahamas archipelago.
Monroe authorities on Tuesday declared a state of local emergency and ordered the evacuation from early today.
The county’s government offices and colleges will be closed from today, while the three hospitals in the area have already begun evacuation plans for their patients.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez asked at a press conference today that the inhabitants are prepared “as necessary” for the evacuation and said that some 2,200 people have already been evicted.
“It is a very powerful storm that could affect our area this Saturday and Sunday with winds of more than 150 miles per hour, and also with floods,” Gimenez said.
The mayor called for citizen collaboration to address Irma’s preparations and effects, which would be added to the employees and volunteers already deployed in the city to provide “their help and provide the necessary resources.”
The Miami International Airport, although still open, has already canceled 10 arrivals and 13 departures, due to the risks involved by Irma, so that those responsible for the aerodrome urge passengers to be in permanent contact with their airlines to check the status of your flight.