Government Agencies in South Florida Prepare for Hurricane Irma

Government agencies and organizations in South Florida are preparing for a possible hit by Hurricane Irma.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Monday for the entire state in anticipation of Irma. On Tuesday, Scott suspended tolls on all Florida roadways.

"Hurricane Irma is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening Category 5 storm and the state is aggressively preparing to ensure families are safe as we prepare for a possible landfall," Gov. Scott said Wednesday.

The South Florida Water Management District announced it's moving water throughout the system and working with various drainage districts to begin lowering canals ahead of Irma.

#customMod-1 ul, #customMod-1 li {list-style:none;margin:0;padding:0;font-size:14px;} #customMod-1 li img {float:left;margin:0 15px 0 0;padding:0;} #customMod-1 li h3 {font-size:14px;line-height:1em;} #customMod-1 li a {font-size:14px;} #customMod-1 {margin: 5px 10px;} #customMod-1 ul {margin: 0 12px;} if(nbc.siteKey == "ami"){ document.write("

Get the latest on Hurricane Irma from NBC 6 anywhere, anytime

"); }


Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he signed a declaration of local emergency Tuesday and he directed the county's Emergency Operations Center to be in all hands on deck activation.

"This is a powerful storm which poses a serious threat to our area and we will be taking some extraordinary actions to ensure that the residents of Miami-Dade County are safe," Gimenez said. "I would rather inconvenience our residents on this occasion than suffer any unnecessary loss of life if in fact we are hit by Hurricane Irma."

Earlier Tuesday, the EOC was partially opened, with staff members taking calls from residents with special needs.

Gimenez said they would begin to evacuate special needs residents Wednesday and may begin asking residents in some evacuation zones to evacuate by Thursday.

Gimenez said shelters are available but should be a last resort. He added that county offices will be closed Thursday and Friday.

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine said he's anticipating a mandatory evacuation could come Wednesday or Thursday, and urged residents to make plans to leave the city.

Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said schools would close Thursday and Friday.

At Miami International Airport, officials said there was no operational impact Tuesday but travelers should check with their airline if flying later in the week.

Officials in Miami Beach said they will be distributing sandbags at 451 Dade Boulevard. There will be a 10 bags per family limit and residents must show bring an ID. The bags will be distributed between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. until they run out or are forced to stop due to inclement weather. Once an evacuation is ordered, the city will also open garages to residents with IDs so they can park their cars to try to avoid damage. 

The City of Doral said it will close its government center Thursday and Friday. All parks will be closed and all scheduled events will be postponed beginning Thursday. The city's trolley service will be suspended once winds reach 40 MPH. 


In Broward, Mayor Barbara Sharief said they are monitoring and assessing Hurricane Irma but said the county's EOC could be on full activation Thursday morning.

"Irma is a serious Category 5 storm that does pose a threat to South Florida," Sharief said at a news conference Tuesday. "Broward County may be experiencing tropical storm force winds as early as Friday evening and local conditions are expected to worsen throughout the weekend."

The county was planning for an evacuation if needed but no evacuations had been ordered.

Sharief said the county commission is prepared to declare a local state of emergency if needed.

Officials said Broward public schools will be closed Thursday and Friday.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International was also operating normally Tuesday but could be impacted later this week.

Officials at Port Everglades said they are closely monitoring the progress of Irma and said there are a variety of cruise, cargo and petroleum ships scheduled to arrive this week and the coming weekend that could be affected by Irma. Cruise passengers should contact cruise lines for updates on ship schedules.


In Monroe County, officials said they will be issuing a mandatory visitor evacuation expected to begin at 7 a.m. Wednesday. An evacuation for residents also will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday. 

Florida Keys Hospital evacuations will also begin Wednesday with the help of the Florida Air National Guard. 

"If ever there was a storm to take seriously in the Keys, this is it," Monroe County Emergency Management Director Martin Senterfitt said. "The sooner people leave, the better."

The county declared a local state of emergency Tuesday, officials said.

All schools in Monroe County will be closed Wednesday and will be closed until further notice.

Contact Us