Sat | Dec 16, 2017

Florida Keys plans for evacuations ahead of Irma

Published:Tuesday | September 5, 2017 | 2:26 PM
Residents load sheets of strand board on a truck as they prepare for Hurricane Irma, Tuesday in Hialeah, Florida. Hurricane Irma grew into a dangerous Category 5 storm, the most powerful seen in the Atlantic in over a decade, and roared toward islands in the northeast Caribbean Tuesday on a path that could eventually take it to the United States. - AP

(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.

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.

US 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.