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Resending on behalf of Monroe County Emergency Management

ESF 14 -External Affairs / Public Information Office
Florida State Emergency Response Team (850) 921-0384

Emergency Management Officials Announce Mandatory Evacuation
for General Florida Keys Population

Monroe County Emergency Management officials announced plans for a mandatory evacuation for all Florida Keys residents to begin at noon Saturday, due to a possible threat from Hurricane Wilma.

A mandatory evacuation for all mobile home dwellers and special needs clients began Saturday at 6 a.m. Residents living aboard boats were mandated to leave beginning Wednesday, the same time visitors, recreational vehicles and travel-trailers were ordered to leave.

At noon Saturday, the mandatory evacuation for all residents living from the Seven Mile Bridge through Key West goes into effect. This includes the entire Lower Keys and Key West.

At 3 p.m. Saturday, the mandatory evacuation extends to all residents living from the Seven Mile Bridge to the Long Key Bridge. This includes Marathon and the remainder of the Middle Keys.

At 6 p.m. Saturday, the mandatory evacuation continues for all residents living from the Long Key Bridge through Ocean Reef and to Florida City and mainland Monroe County. This includes Ocean Reef, Key Largo, Islamorada and Flamingo.

The Monroe County shelter at Florida International University is open to accept resident evacuees. Residents who go to the shelter must bring their own pillows, blankets, food, medication and water. Evacuating residents are urged to seek shelter north of Orlando if they chose not to stay at the designated shelter at FIU. Visit Florida, the state's official tourism agency, has set up a special toll-free number to assist with finding accommodations in other areas of the state. That number is 1-800-287-8598.

Officials have organized bus service to take evacuees without transportation out of the Keys to the FIU shelter. Information can be obtained by calling Keys emergency hotlines. The number for Key West is 305-809-1108. For all other areas in the Keys, call 1-800-955-5504.

In order to assure the evacuation goes smoothly, tolls have been lifted on Card Sound Road in the Upper Keys and the Florida Turnpike Extension. The drawbridges at Snake Creek and Jewfish Creek, in Islamorada and Key Largo respectively, are to be locked in the down position at noon Saturday. This will prevent large-profile boats from requesting a bridge opening, but will promote smoother traffic flow.

Sheriff's deputies are to be stationed at key traffic lights throughout the Keys in order to assist with traffic control during the mandatory evacuation.

Emergency management officials will not open shelters in the Keys.

Additional Information and Resources:

Media contacts: Greg Artman, 305-289-2578
Andy Newman, 305-542-6014

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Last updated: November 09, 2007

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