Miami a ‘Ghost Town’ Ahead of Hurricane Irma

September 8, 2017 Last Updated: September 8, 2017

The normally bustling Miami and its namesake beach have been deserted ahead of Hurricane Irma.

Photos shot Thursday and Friday show empty beaches, empty streets, and empty highways in Miami, a city of 500,000 people.

The airport was totally deserted, according to photos and videos uploaded to social media.

The National Hurricane Center said Irma weakened from a Category 5 storm to a Category 4 system—but it still packed winds of 150 mph.

A popular tourist area of South Beach is deserted during a mandatory evacuation in advance of Hurricane Irma in Miami Beach, Florida, September 8, 2017. Florida Governor Rick Scott warned that all of the state's 20 million inhabitants should be prepared to evacuate as Hurricane Irma bears down for a direct hit on the southern US state. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
A popular tourist area of South Beach is deserted during a mandatory evacuation in advance of Hurricane Irma in Miami Beach, Florida, September 8, 2017. Florida Governor Rick Scott warned that all of the state’s 20 million inhabitants should be prepared to evacuate as Hurricane Irma bears down for a direct hit on the southern US state.(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Boarded up shops are seen ahead of the arrival of hurricane Irma at Hollywood Beach in Miami, Florida on September 8, 2017. Florida Governor Rick Scott warned that all of the state's 20 million inhabitants should be prepared to evacuate as Hurricane Irma bears down for a direct hit on the southern US state. / AFP PHOTO / Michele Eve Sandberg        (Photo credit should read MICHELE EVE SANDBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
Boarded up shops are seen ahead of the arrival of hurricane Irma at Hollywood Beach in Miami, Florida on September 8, 2017. Florida Governor Rick Scott warned that all of the state’s 20 million inhabitants should be prepared to evacuate as Hurricane Irma bears down for a direct hit on the southern US state. / AFP PHOTO / Michele Eve Sandberg (MICHELE EVE SANDBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort is seen after it closed up ahead of the arrival of hurricane Irma at Hollywood Beach in Miami, Florida on September 8, 2017. Florida Governor Rick Scott warned that all of the state's 20 million inhabitants should be prepared to evacuate as Hurricane Irma bears down for a direct hit on the southern US state. / AFP PHOTO / Michele Eve Sandberg        (Photo credit should read MICHELE EVE SANDBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort is seen after it closed up ahead of the arrival of hurricane Irma at Hollywood Beach in Miami, Florida on September 8, 2017. (MICHELE EVE SANDBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

An empty beach is seen before the arrival of hurricane Irma in Miami, Florida on September 8, 2017. Florida Governor Rick Scott warned that all of the state's 20 million inhabitants should be prepared to evacuate as Hurricane Irma bears down for a direct hit on the southern US state. / AFP PHOTO / Michele Eve Sandberg        (Photo credit should read MICHELE EVE SANDBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
An empty beach is seen before the arrival of hurricane Irma in Miami, Florida on September 8, 2017. (MICHELE EVE SANDBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

 

 

 

 

“No doubt [about] landfall in Florida anymore, just a matter of exactly where & who gets the worst damage. Hurricane force wind gusts peninsula wide, said Dave Epstein, a meteorologist with CBS.

“No longer any spread or uncertainty about landfall of Hurricane #Irma … this is happening for sure, unfortunately,” added Ryan Maue, a meteorologist and hurricane expert.

 

The death toll from the havoc the storm left on its way rose to 21 people Friday. Some islands were virtually flattened with photos showing extreme devastation.

“We are running out of time. If you are in an evacuation zone, you need to go now. This is a catastrophic storm like our state has never seen,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said, according to Reuters.

While earlier forecasts predicted Irma will move north along the eastern coast of Florida, forecasts from Friday, 2 p.m. ET show the storm traveling closer to the western coast of the peninsula, according to weather models by the University of Wisconsin.