The governor of Florida had three words for Florida residents who intend to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Irma, “Get out now.”
Broward County ordered coastal evacuations, which are mandatory but with no enforcement, while Miami Beach advised for evacuation but officials didn’t make it mandatory, CBS News reported.
“Do not sit and wait for this storm to come,” Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday, Sept. 6. “Get out now.”
Scott, meanwhile, said Category 5 Irma is “bigger, faster, and stronger” than Hurricane Andrew, which wrecked Florida 25 years ago, Fox News reported.
“It’s too early to tell, but it’s important that all Floridians keep an eye on this,” he said, per HuffPost. “Do not sit and wait for [Irma] to come. Get prepared right now.”
A mandatory evacuation is in effect for all of the Florida Keys, which will be impacted by Irma on Saturday. “This is not one to fool around with,” Cammy Clark, spokeswoman for Monroe County, which includes the Keys, told CBS.
“Do not focus on the exact path of this storm,” Scott added. “A storm of this size could have effects statewide and everyone must be prepared.”
Irma could hit Fort Meyers, Naples, and Miami, the governor told ABC News.
“We don’t know exactly where this is going to hit,” Scott told the news outlet. “It sure looks like it’s going to bear down right in the middle of Florida.”
As the storm gets closer to the state, Scott said that more mandatory evacuation orders will be issued in parts of Florida.
“Do not ignore evacuation orders,” Scott also said during his news conference on Wednesday. “Remember: We can rebuild your home, but we cannot rebuild your life.”
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he hasn’t issued evacuation orders because the storm has slowed, he said, according to the Miami Herald.
“The storm’s slowing down, giving us a little bit more time,” Gimenez said.
Nearly 500,000 people live in storm-surge zones around Miami, and Gimenez said they could be asked to leave before Irma hits.
He called on residents to leave early.
“My advice is to leave early,” he said. “We don’t want you to be caught in a hurricane in your car.”