Photo by Cammy Clark: Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi discusses with a TV crew the preparations the Florida Keys is undertaking for Hurricane Irma, including taking boats out of the water at Founders Park in Islamorada.

MONROE COUNTY, FL –With the entire Florida Keys in the National Weather Service’s five-day forecast error cone, the Monroe County Emergency Operation Center (EOC) will activate at noon Tuesday.

In a 6:30 p.m. briefing Monday night, meteorologist Jon Rizzo with the National Weather Service Key West told emergency managers in the Keys there is a high confidence for a major hurricane nearing south Florida, the Keys, Florida Straits and/or Cuba by Saturday. The earliest reasonable arrival time of tropical storm-force winds in the Keys is midday Friday.

It is too early to discuss exact storm surge, wind and other possible impacts to the Keys.

If the storm track continues toward the Florida Keys, Monroe County could issue a mandatory tourist evacuation for Wednesday morning and a resident evacuation for Thursday morning. Tourist and residents should pay close attention to the forecast and official advisories. Those decisions will be made by County officials in the next day or two.

“We recognize this is a very dangerous storm,” Monroe County Mayor George Neugent said. “We are taking it seriously and closely monitoring the track. All our tourists and residents should do the same.”

Monroe County Emergency Management will discuss shelters on Tuesday. If there is a mandatory evacuation for residents, it will be too dangerous to open shelters in the Keys. Monroe County residents can seek shelter at the Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition’s E Darwin Puchs Pavilion. More information will become available if the shelter is needed.

It is not too late for people with special needs who may want transportation to shelters to register with the Monroe County Special Needs Registry. But this should be done by Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning at the latest. For more information or to register online, go to: www.fl-monroecounty.civicplus. com/index.aspx?=148 or call 305-292-4591.

People with special needs may bring their pets. Pets also must be registered. If it is necessary to evacuate to the out-of-county special needs shelter at Florida International University in Miami, pets will be taken to a separate shelter with a 24/7 caretaker.

People who are medically managed, including those on oxygen, feeding tubes or equipment that needs constant electricity, can also register on the special needs registry for transportation by ambulance to nursing homes out of the county.

Monroe County’s First Public Hearing on its Fiscal Year 2018 budget will still take place Tuesday (Sept. 5) at the Murray Nelson Government and Cultural Center in Key Largo at 5:05 p.m. All County government offices will be open Tuesday.

Up to date information is available on Monroe County’s Emergency Management website,, Monroe County BOCC on Facebook and @MonroeCounty on Twitter.




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