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Miami-Dade County Expands Mandatory Evacuation Zone to Much of Downtown and Mainland

Miami-Dade County Expands Mandatory Evacuation Zone to Much of Downtown and Mainland
Miami-Dade County
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With roughly 72 hours before Hurricane Irma is projected to hit Miami as a Category 4 or 5 storm, weather forecasts continue to worsen for central Miami. In response, county Mayor Carlos Gimenez Thursday afternoon announced just after 2:15 that he's expanding mandatory evacuation zones. Those living in storm-surge zones B and C have now been ordered to leave their homes.

Previously, only residents in Zone A and barrier islands in Zone B were ordered out. The new order includes a huge swath of the city —  the entire corridor along Biscayne Boulevard, from 119th Street south to the Florida Keys, has been ordered to leave. Zones B and C also extend into most of downtown Miami and Brickell, as well as portions of Homestead, Cutler Bay, Pinecrest, South Miami, Miami Shores, and other parts of the area.

(You can find more information on the evacuation order at miamidade.gov/emergency. You can also use this interactive map to find out if your home sits in an evacuation area.)

He cautioned last night in a different press conference that no county officials will be enforcing the order — but if you decide to stay during the storm, local fire rescue or police employees may not be able to protect you from harm.

The mayor issued his order as the only routes north out of town — I-95 and the Florida Turnpike — have become clogged with people fleeing the city. Evacuees have reported long traffic delays from the northern end of Palm Beach County to Orlando. The latest evacuation order won't improve traffic jams — officials have repeatedly warned that, if you must leave, leave early, and don't try to travel farther than absolutely necessary.

Evacuation Zones B and C include areas of lower income than Miami Beach and the county's other barrier islands — which ensures the county's hurricane shelters will fill up over the weekend. Gimenez has urged residents repeatedly not to go to a shelter unless they have absolutely nowhere else to go — so stay with friends or family so there's space for those who can't. The county has opened eight shelters for residents.

So far, the county has opened eight Metrorail garages where residents can park safely. If you don't have a car, you can use this map to find out where to catch a hurricane evacuation bus.

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