Florida officials have announced partial evacuations for Miami-Dade County ahead of Hurricane Irma.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said on Twitter Tuesday that he may be asking zones A and B to evacuate as early as tomorrow. He also said evacuations for special needs residents will start tomorrow morning. “This hurricane is far too powerful, poses far too great a threat for us to delay actions any further,” Gimenez said, according to the Washington Post.
The Post added that Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys, has set a mandatory evacuation for Wednesday. Already, Key West International Airport is set to close after Wednesday night's last commercial flight, according to NBC News, with individual airlines such as American Airlines and Southwest Airlines both cancelling flights and issuing waivers for travelers. While Broward County in Fort Lauderdale is not yet calling for evacuations, it has closed schools for Thursday and Friday, CBS Miami reported.
Irma, a Category 5 hurricane with 185-mph winds, is predicted to hit southern Florida this weekend.
Local news and social media channels are posting zone maps for residents to reference, and Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who declared a state of emergency on Monday, has urged residents to think about their disaster plan.
Irma could be the first Category 5 hurricane to hit Florida since Hurricane Andrew 25 years ago. The storm's pathway is predicted to turn toward Florida after it sweeps across various British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. On Tuesday evening, it bore down on the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean, including Antigua and Barbuda.