KEY LARGO, Fla. – The mayor of Monroe County isn’t taking any chances with the Florida Keys inside the cone of uncertainty for Tropical Storm Laura.
Mayor Heather Carruthers declared a state of local emergency for the Keys on Friday and issued a mandatory evacuation of all liveaboard vessels, mobile homes, recreational vehicles, travel trailers, and campers.
Shelters will open Sunday at 3 p.m. for residents who need them.
“If you are in a liveaboard, we are asking that you not ride out the storm on your boat,” Carruthers said. “Same with mobile home residents.”
The mayor is not calling for tourists staying in hotels or vacation homes to check out just yet.
“We are not calling on for mandatory evacuation of hotel visitors or vacation renters,” she said.
Residents have begun their storm preparations.
In Key Largo, people were boarding up, tying down their boats and stocking up on essential items in the case they lose power.
Just a few miles north in Miami-Dade County, Mayor Carlos Gimenez also urged residents to prepare. Even though the storm’s center is less likely to hit there, there are likely to be weather effects arriving in South Florida early next week.
“Have food and containers of water on hand for at least three days,” Gimenez said. “Charge your cell phones in advance and make sure you have batteries and clean up debris in your yard.”
Carruthers said that when Monroe’s shelters open there will be COVID-19 safety measures in place. She encouraged all those planning to go to shelters to wear their mask.
Watcha replay of Mayor Carruthers’ full address to residents below:
Mayor Carruthers speaks about TS Laura and COVID. Questions are welcome below.Posted by Monroe County BOCC on Friday, August 21, 2020
More information on emergency preparations in the Florida Keys can be found at monroecountyem.com.