Martin County opens shelters, announces mandatory evacuations

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. – Residents of the barrier islands of Martin County, which include Hutchinson Island and Jupiter Island, will be required to evacuate in advance of Hurricane Dorian, officials announced Friday. Mandatory evacuations would begin Sunday, Sept. 1, at 10 a.m. in conjunction with shelter openings. Officials said the evacuation also applies to residences at Sewall's Point, and those living in manufactured and mobile homes, as well as homes located in low-lying areas.

Officials also said that as conditions change, additional evacuation areas may be identified.

According to Martin County officials, water service to Hutchinson Island would be shut off at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 1  "to protect the integrity of the system and water supply."

Martin County is located in the Treasure Coast region of the state, and is about two hours north of Broward County.

The county was opening a pet friendly shelter that would accommodate up to 300 residents and their pets, only dogs and/or cats, at Willoughby Learning Center, located at 5150 SE Willoughby Blvd., Stuart. Residents would be separated from pets, but officials said they could visit to care for them. Officials could not guarantee air conditioning if there was a power outage.

Martin County also announced it would open a special needs shelter at Anderson Middle School, also in Stuart. The shelter would offer limited medical oversight and is designed for residents with electricity-dependent needs such as oxygen, according to officials.

Drugs, alcohol, or firearms would not be allowed in any of the shelters.

Residents were advised to consider other options before deciding to go to a shelter, according to officials.

A community information line was set up for residents with storm-related questions at 772-287-1652, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.