With the peak of an already overactive hurricane season on the horizon, it’s important to keep up with evacuation plans across South Florida.
Both Miami-Dade and Broward counties have created plans that provide information on evacuation zones, routes and even instructions on how to manage the spread of COVID-19 in shelters.
As a storm’s path nears South Florida, both Miami-Dade and Broward County mayors have the authority to order residents of specific “zones” to evacuate. The risk for storm surge determines which evacuation zones are at risk.
In, Miami-Dade there are five evacuation zones.
If a storm becomes a Category 1 Hurricane, then residents in Zone A would be asked to evacuate. A Category 2 Hurricane would force residents in Zone B to evacuate, and a Category 3 would force Zone C to evacuate. The final two zones, D and E, are reserved for Category 4 and 5 Hurricanes respectively.
According to Miami-Dade’s Hurricane Guide, the zones are drawn using “sea, lake and overland surge from hurricanes,” and “incorporate local physical features such as geographic coastal areas, bays, rivers, water depth and bridges.”
In Broward, there are two evacuation plans.
A Category 1 or 2 Hurricane would activate Evacuation Plan A, which refers to all residents east of the Intracoastal Waterway. A Category 3 would require residents east of U.S. 1 (Federal Highway) to evacuate as well.
Both counties encourage residents who have been evacuated to stay with family members who live inland in non-evacuated areas. Evacuation centers should only be used “as a shelter of last resort.”
If you must evacuate, the counties recommend bringing the following items:
- Sleeping bag/mat or folding cot/lawn chair
- Infant and child care items, such as formula, diapers, toys, etc.
- Personal hygiene items
- Comfort materials, such as books, magazines, etc.
- Medication (refrigeration will be available for prescription or emergency medication)
- Drinking water
- Extra clothing
- Special items for family members who are elderly or disabled
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 during an evacuation, Miami-Dade County has also created a plan for its shelters.
Individuals who are entering evacuation centers will be screened for fever, cough and shortness of breath. If a person shows signs of these symptoms, then they be sent to an isolated area, away from other evacuees.
Masks will be mandatory in shelters, and it’s recommended that evacuees maintain social distancing in common areas.