MIAMI – Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced that Miami-Dade County has expanded evacuation orders ahead of Hurricane Irma.
All of Zones A, B, and parts of C are now under mandatory evacuation orders.
The areas included in the evacuations zones may all experience massive storm surge that will arrive with the storm.
Over 650,000 residents are affected by the evacuation orders and being told to seek safety in other locations or at a county shelter.
Gimenez said Wednesday. "This storm doesn't appear to be going anywhere."
Miami-Dade now has eight open shelters:
- North Miami Beach Senior High School, 1247 NE 167th St., North Miami Beach
- South Miami Senior High School, 6856 SW 53th Street, Miami
- Felix Varela Senior High School, 15255 SW 96th Street, Miami
- Miami-Dade County Fair and Exhibition (PET FRIENDLY), 10901 Coral Way, Miami
- Miami Carol City Senior High School, 3301 Miami Gardens Drive, Miami Gardens
- Miami Central Senior High School, 1781 N.W. 95th Street, Miami
- North Miami Senior High School, 13110 N.E. 8th Avenue, North Miami
- TERRA Environmental High School, 11005 S.W. 84 Street, Miami
"These shelters should be the refuge of last resort for people who truly have no place to go," Gimenez said. "We encourage everyone to provide assistance to family, co-workers, friends who are on the evacuation zone."
Gimenez also issued a mandatory evacuation for all mobile homes. He said residents choosing to stay in the evacuation areas should remember it will be difficult for rescuers to respond to evacuation zones during the storm.
The mayor said he issued the order after he was sure the shelters were ready to receive the evacuees and on Wednesday afternoon he said he was giving them plenty of time to abide by the order.
Broward County's evacuation order begins Thursday afternoon for residents in coastal areas. Monroe County ordered residents to evacuate Wednesday.
Gimenez has also made the following announcements:
- Miami-Dade Transit to remain open until winds reach 35 mph.
- PortMiami to close at 8 a.m. Saturday.
- County parks and libraries to close Thursday until further notice.
- Miami International Airport to remain open until winds reach 35 mph.
- Miami-Dade tap water is safe to drink and store
- Curbside garbage collection continues until winds reach 35 mph
- Unscheduled bulk waste pickups have been suspended
- Those with special needs who are registered with the county will be evacuated to their nearest hospital instead of a shelter.
- All county offices will be closed Thursday and Friday. All city garages are now open to residents to park for free, with the exception of the City Hall garage.
- Gimenez urged all visitors to cut their vacations in South Florida short and make plans to leave the area ahead of the storm.