Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi has a message for everyone and anyone left in the Keys: “Get out.”
“Hurricane Irma is a very strong, very dangerous storm that has life-threatening winds and even scarier storm surge potential,” Gastesi said. “Even the Coast Guard is evacuating all of its personnel. Please evacuate.”
Gastesi warned that anyone daring to stay on the island chain will not be able to dial 911 once the storm starts: "...nobody is going to answer."
A good portion of the Florida Keys could suffer storm surge of 5 to 10 feet and life threatening winds of more than 110 mph are possible through most of the Keys. Ocean Reef now has a 56 percent chance of hurricane force winds and the percentages continue to rise as the storm gets closer.
Tropical force winds are expected to hit the Keys late Saturday morning to early Saturday afternoon. Core hurricane force winds could hit the Keys Saturday evening into Sunday morning.
Here’s the latest Florida Keys updates:
- The Key West Transit hurricane evacuation bus began picking up people in Key West at 6 a.m. Friday.
- The bus transports people to two shelters in Miami-Dade County: FIU and the pet-friendly E. Darwin Fuchs Pavilion at the Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds and Exposition
- About 200 people were transported on these evacuation buses on Thursday
- The last Greyhound bus left Key West at 8:30 a.m. Friday
- The Miami-Dade Transit Route 301 from Marathon to 344th Street Park & Ride on the mainland will be in service until conditions become unsafe
- At 8 a.m. Friday, the Port of Key West closed
- Fuel deliveries are expected to five gas stations throughout the Keys on Friday
- General aviation will continue at the Key West International Airport until conditions are unsafe, likely Saturday morning.
- General aviation at Florida Keys Marathon International Airport will continue until conditions are unsafe.
- All general aviation services, including fueling, are suspended at both airports