Miami: Hurricane Irma has already wrecked havoc in the Caribbean. Many cities have been leveled and hundreds of thousands of people across the region are without a roof on their heads, power or clean drinking water.
As the stories of destruction caused by Hurricane Irma are recounted through television, newspapers and news portals, it is creating deep apprehension among the minds of millions of people living in Florida.
The long coastline of the state is making the people all the more nervous. Despite the fact that Hurricane Irma made its landfall in Caribbean with a speed of around 180 miles, many thought that its speed will come down. But till now it hasn’t weakened even a bit.
This has made the people across the state apprehensive. Despite a small geographical area, it is very densely populated state and areas where the hurricane is expected to pass are even denser. A peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Straits of Florida, it has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States, approximately 1,350 miles, and is the only state that borders both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Much of the state is at or near sea level and is characterized by sedimentary soil. The climate varies from subtropical in the north to tropical in the south.
Reports from the National Hurricane Center are further unnerving people in the state. it has said that Hurricane Irma may make a direct hit on Florida later this week. In South Florida, mandatory evacuations began Wednesday. Many Floridians have been left scrambling to find supplies to board up homes and businesses in the Florida Keys, CBS News correspondent Manuel Bojorquez reports. The major concern is storm surge. The islands average about 6 feet above sea level. The surge from Hurricane Irma has the potential to be more than nine feet high.
Reports suggest that Miami-Dade County is evacuating around 150,000 out of 2.7 million people. Three days ago, on September 4, Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency to prepare for Irma. Since then, things have changed quickly. Officials have told residents to obey all evacuation orders. So far in Miami-Dade County, the following evacuation orders have been issued starting Thursday morning:
Residents living in barrier islands and low-lying areas
All of the Zone A evacuation area
Barrier islands in Zone B. This includes residents of: Bal Harbour, Bay Harbour Islands, Golden Beach, Indian Creek Village, Miami Beach, North Bay Village, Sunny Isles Beach and Surfside
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine says “I’ll do anything in my power to convince them (people of the area) this is a very serious storm. This is a nuclear hurricane. They should leave the beach, they must leave the beach.”
Government has taken some important steps to make evacuation easy for the residents. To help with evacuations, all weight and driver restrictions have been rescinded on the highways, and all tolls have been suspended. Sen. Marco Rubio said that all preparation and evacuations should be finished by Friday.