KEY WEST, Fla. (CBS/AP) — Officials in the Florida Keys are gearing up to get tourists and residents out of the possible path of Hurricane Irma.
Monroe County spokeswoman Cammy Clark says in a news release that a mandatory evacuation for tourists will begin at sunrise Wednesday. An evacuation plan for residents is also under way but a timetable hasn’t been determined.
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“For the Florida Keys, if you were to create the worst case scenario that is what we are looking at,” Monroe Co. Emergency Operations Center Director Martin Senterfitt told CBS Miami. “We’re emphatically telling people you must evacuate, you can not afford to stay on an island with a Category 5 hurricane coming at you.”
Clark says government offices, parks and schools will close and there will be no shelters in Monroe County. The county’s three hospitals are also beginning evacuation plans.
U.S. 1 is only route in and out of the island chain off the southern peninsula of Florida.
Clark says residents and tourists should begin filling their tanks with fuel to prepare to drive to the mainland.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)