Tourists And Residents Forced To Leave; Overseas Highway Clogged With Traffic
All tourists and residents in the Florida Keys and in Key West are under a mandatory evacuation beginning Wednesday. Evacuation of tourists is expected to begin Wednesday morning at sunrise. When that is accomplished, residents will also be forced to leave.
Additionally Key West International Airport will close Wednesday night with all commercial flights cancelled until further notice.
“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, said Monroe Co. Emergency Operations Center Director Martin Senterfitt.
“Most of this island chain is only three to five feet above sea level. With the surges we’re expecting this is not the place to be,” he added.
Some tourists and residents are already on their way out, clogging the only route through the Keys, the scenic Overseas Highway. Traffic conditions will only get worse as the storm – as of Monday a Category 5 hurricane – moves closer to the Keys.
The exact path the storm takes could go in any number of directions, and one of the projected paths has it passing over the middle of the Keys. Another has hit hitting South Florida and the Miami area, with the “best-case” scenario having it move to the east out over the Atlantic, only brushing southeastern Florida.
The storm has caused the NFL to announce the Dolphins-Buccaneers game, scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m., will not be played as scheduled. It offered no immediate alternative game date or location.