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Window of Opportunity to Evacuate Closing in Florida

by Countable | 9.6.17

What’s the story?

Mandatory evacuations have begun in southern Florida in response to the catastrophic threats posed by Hurricane Irma. Evacuation orders will likely continue into Thursday, but this area has limited major highways, which complicates evacuations, and the window to safely leave is closing rapidly.

Why does it matter?

Hurricane Irma made landfall on Wednesday in the Caribbean. As a Category 5 hurricane with 185-mph winds it is the largest Atlantic hurricane in recorded history.

Irma’s eye passed over Barbuda at around 1:47 a.m. Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. Winds were clocked at 155-mph before the weather station was knocked offline.

Puerto Rico, as well as Haiti, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas are bracing for life threatening storm surges, catastrophic wind damage, flash flooding and mudslides, which could begin Wednesday and continue into Thursday and Friday, given the size of the storm.

The exact storm track is hard to predict, but the Florida Keys ordered the first mandatory evacuations starting Wednesday morning. Residents of Monroe County, where the Keys are located, were ordered to begin evacuations Wednesday night. There is a single highway that snakes through the 120-mile island chain and into the Florida mainland which is already bottlenecked with evacuees.

According to the Washington Post, Miami-Dade County, the most populous in Florida, "said it would begin ordering evacuations on Wednesday, likely starting with the coastal regions and Miami Beach."

There are two main routes up and out of Florida, which are normally heavily congested Interstate 95 and the Florida Turnpike. In order to ease potentially fatal traffic jams, Gov. Rick Scott has ordered starting Tuesday that no tolls be collected.

President Trump has already declared an emergency in Florida as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. All 7000 members of the Florida National Guard will be mobilized by Friday.

In a Wednesday news briefing Gov. Scott implored residents to heed evacuation orders:

"If you’re told to evacuate, get out quickly. I cannot stress this enough: Do not ignore evacuation orders. Remember, we can rebuild your home but we cannot rebuild your life."

What can you do?

If you are in Florida, CountaFamily, heed evacuation warnings with efficiency, please. Depending on the storm track, flooding could reach coastal Georgia and South Carolina, so residents should have a plan and stock up on supplies before the weekend.

Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think they should do about disaster relief in the midst of this unprecedented storm season!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: National Hurricane Center / Creative Commons)

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Written by Countable

Leave a comment
(18)
  • Joe
    09/06/2017
    ···

    An order to freeze airline, gas and automobile rental prices should also be the norm in cases like this. Some airlines are charging nearly $4000 for flights that usually cost $200 - 300. I assume rental agencies have followed suit. These people have no choice. Why use their desperation as an opportunity to line your pockets. This greed is a major problem with our society. Corporate greed is everywhere, but this is for another day. Please, if you can assist the mobilization of Floridians, do so. These are American lives. Treat them as such.

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  • Patty
    09/06/2017
    ···

    These current natural disasters reinforce the need for scientists in science related positions like NASA and NOAA, people who are not climate change deniers.

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  • KansasTamale
    09/06/2017
    ···

    Please people. Take heed from the authorities and what happened in Texas. Take your important items, relatives & pets & get out of there.

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  • Cynthia
    09/07/2017
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    We live on a barrier island on the east coast of Florida. We will be evacuating, as we have done before. I just want to take this opportunity to thank hotels for accepting family pets. Also, I haven't noticed any price gouging. In fact, our hotel is waiving the cancellation fee, in case we need to cancel.

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  • I.Got.an.Idea...
    09/07/2017
    ···

    My family is prepared to leave Tampa on Thursday. I find it interesting that this administration has removed much of the safety protocols for coastal communities, because as they have stated, 'they are unnecessary, costly burdens to people and businesses ' yet we are experiencing two major catastrophic events within a week of each other and another Hurricane is stirring out there. This administration and this Republican-controlled Congress is dangerous to the Citizens of the United States. They personally, should be held accountable for the deaths, injuries and costs to the Citizens during these events, especially if some of the flooding and other damage could have been prevented by proper safety protocols utilizing professional engineering science.

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  • Azrael
    09/06/2017
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    Hello leave or drown No brainer

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  • LLBruton
    09/07/2017
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    With Harvey, I offered my home for up to 4 persons. I contacted MANY airlines and 2 responded positively: Southwest airlines said their customers donated 5 million points to be used as they see fit and JetBlue promised low fares. I live in California and its a long way from Florida but my offer stands for Irma. My primary concern is the trauma affecting the children. My heart cries for them. All I can physically offer is a home with comfortable beds and food and all the amenities of home. Emotionally and psychologically I offer a regular schedule, dogs, love, and prayer. I have a bonus room that is large enough for all 4 family members to sleep in and draw comfort from each other. I've given blood and money already, this is all I have left to offer. Pray for the children that their trauma is minimal.

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  • Luke
    09/06/2017
    ···

    They knew the storm would be bad, evacuation orders should have been given much earlier. Evacuation needs to happen now in as much of Florida as possible. Best of luck to all those in the direct path.

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  • Yo
    09/06/2017
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    Mandatory evacuation should be norm for this kind of super disaster

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  • Cary
    09/06/2017
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    I pray to our Heavenly Father that his will be done.

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  • Deirdre
    09/06/2017
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    If this is as bad as it seems to be please help us down here in Florida

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  • Becka
    09/07/2017
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    Please help support all those being devastated by these unprecedented storms, not only on the present, but by funding REAL CLIMATE CHANGE WORK, SCIENCE AND RESEARCH! With one of the largest economies, we should be doing everything we can to alleviate climate change... IT IS REAL!

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  • Anna
    09/07/2017
    ···

    To our elected representatives: First, the budget for FEMA needs to be funded immediately without a lot of foolish amendments added to the bill and a week's worth of partisan wrangling. They will run out of money before Houston claims are complete, sometime Friday is predicted. Second, some guidance needs to be given so that banks, homeowners, landlords and renters know who needs to file for relief and what the process will be. It is especially necessary to clarify that mortgage payments are not due, or not considered late, for people whose homes are devastated and whose jobs are not returned yet. And that rent payments are not due for uninhabitable houses or apartments. People are being gouged, threatened and harassed over this at a time when they need nothing more to deal with. Third, take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that these disasters do not become another giant windfall for the fraud loving banking complex, while hard working people lose everything. Fourth, face the reality that you cannot continue to allow people to build and rebuild homes and businesses in areas that continually flood during heavy rains, tropical storms and hurricanes that are becoming more common in some areas. The rest of the nation and the emergency management system should not have to continually bail out entire states just so they can build it all back and let it flood out again and again. Enough already. Either move it all back to high ground, require better storm surge protection and drainage systems or agree that building in certain areas means no flood insurance and no more emergency recovery funds if you get flooded out again.

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  • Skyler
    09/10/2017
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    Evacuate as fast as you can and please don't forget your animals!

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  • Herbert
    09/07/2017
    ···

    Still think there's no global warming? Trump and the pollution industry's lapdog, Scott Pruitt are aiming to turn Earth into Mercury. We need to get to work on a viable space ark since the world will eventually become inhabitable.

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  • Dave
    09/07/2017
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    Take care, be careful, do not take chances, go to high ground for shelter, even if Rush Limbaugh (republicans) suggests hurricane Irma is a liberal hoax and fake news!

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  • Barbara
    09/07/2017
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    Jet airlines $99 and and another airline for $100 but not sure who just hear that at 8 am Thursday. These are for flights out of Fl. Be safe everyone and my prayers are with each one of you.

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  • Fran
    09/07/2017
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    The dire circumstances are a reflection of God and his ultimate plan. I pray the people who need to move - do move and stay away long enough to be sure they don't have to leave again. Could "Jet Blue" or other carriers provide sites along the Eastern corridor where those of us out in the West could air-fly extra clothes, diapers, etc. for those whose lives have been turned upside down. We live in "hi tech" but we never avail it for ourselves - well, let's avail ourselves of it.

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