Florida Governor Rick Scott has ordered the emergency evacuation of Miami’s coastal zones as Hurricane Irma approaches the United States Homeland.
Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for all of zone A and the zone B barrier islands in Miami-Dade County.
This is the first evacuation in 12 years and saw 100,000 residents of mobile homes, barrier islands and low-lying mainland areas ordered to leave the city starting 9am on Thursday.
Florida Governor Rick Scott said they are taking such strong caution because Irma is looking to be a stronger storm than Hurricane Andrew, which was the most destructive storm to ever hit the state.
‘Let’s all remember, we can rebuild your home, but we can’t rebuild your life,’ Scott said.
Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for all of zone A and the zone B barrier islands in Miami-Dade County. Traffic is seen heading North along the Florida turnpike leaving the Keys
Hurricane Irma, a record Category 5 storm, is seen approaching Puerto Rico in this NOAA National Weather Service National Hurricane Center satellite image. It is expected to hit Florida Thursday or Friday
A map shows the projection that Hurricane Irma is expected to take over the next few days
Two men pull a jet ski out of the water on Wednesday in Miami in anticipation of Hurricane Irma hitting the coast
This Aug. 25, 1992 file photo shows the water tower, a landmark in Florida City, still standing over the ruins of the Florida coastal community that was hit by the force of Hurricane Andrew, which was previously the worst storm to ever hit Florida
Those areas are considered to be particularly vulnerable to storm surge, according to the county’s Mayor Carlos Giminez.
‘Irma remains a strong Category five hurricane,’ Giminez said in a news briefing. ‘Significant weakening is not expected.’
Special needs residents in Miami have already started to be evacuated out of the city.
So far about 2,200 of those individuals have been evacuated, and that will continue until everyone is out, Giminez said.
Thursday morning’s order applies to the county’s Zone A, which covers Key Biscane, and the coast-line along Southeast Miami-Dade and just north of Miami – but only to the barrier islands of Zone B.
That includes Bal Harbour, Bay Harbour Islands, Golden Beach, Indian Creek Village, Miami Beach, North Bay Village, Sunny Isles Beach and Surfside. Mainland areas of Zone B were not included, by Giminez said they could be in the future, the Miami Herald reported.
Scheriff Scott Israel told the Herald that, though it is a mandatory evacuation, nobody will be arrested or forced to leave.
‘We’re not going to knock on doors. We’re asking you to leave so you don’t become a victim,’ he explained.
This was the first evacuation in 12 years and saw 100,000 residents of mobile homes, barrier islands and low-lying mainland areas ordered to leave the city starting 9am on Thursday. Cars are pictured lining up for gas before heading out of the city
A woman walks out with water and necessities in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irma on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017 in North Miami
Thursday morning’s order applies to the county’s Zone A, which covers Key Biscane, and the coast-line along Southeast Miami-Dade and just north of Miami – but only to the barrier islands of Zone B
Left motorists evacuate the Florida Keys ahead of the storm, and right a business in Miami prepares for the hurricane to hit by putting storm shutters on its windows
Scheriff Scott Israel told the Herald that, though it is a mandatory evacuation, nobody will be arrested or forced to leave
Further south in the Florida Keys mandatory evacuations have already begun.
Monroe County, which is made up of the Florida Keys, began requiring all visitors to leave on Wednesday. All residents have been ordered to leave on Thursday.
DEVASTATION CAUSED BY HURRICANE ANDREW IN 1992
Hurricane Andrew was a Category Five hurricane that struck the Bahamas and Florida in mid-August 1992.
It was the most destructive hurricane to ever hit Florida, and the costliest to the United States until Katrina in 2005.
The storm sustained wind speeds as high as 165 mph and passed directly through Miami-Dade County.
It stripped many homes of all but their foundations, and destroyed more than 63,500 homes.
The storm cost a total of $26.5 billion in damages and left 65 people dead.
Hurricane Andrew was a Category Five hurricane that struck the Bahamas and Florida in mid-August 1992. Pictured is the devastation it left
All highway tolls were suspended throughout the state on Tuesday afternoon, and South Florida Schools have been preemptively closed Thursday and Friday.
There are some fears that Disney World will be forced to close if the storm heads to North Florida.
Stores throughout the state, which has been under a state of emergency since Monday, have already started running out of bottled water and other necessities and gas stations are struggling to keep up with the never ending lines of cars.
Florida Governor Rick Scott said during a press conference Wednesday morning that gas and more supplies are on the way, after stores and service stations across the state started reporting shortages.
He also said that the state is going to start the evacuations starting with the Keys, and move north depending on where the storm turns.
Scott announced in Miami that he’s asked the governors of Alabama and Georgia to waive trucking regulations so tankers can get fuel into communities in need.
On Wednesday afternoon Amazon was accused of price gouging in the state – by selling bottles of water at nearly four times its normal cost to Floridians eager to stock up.
Because people have essentially cleaned out grocery stores of key necessities and supplies, some turned to the e-comcerce site and were angered to see what they say is an attempt by Amazon to profit off an impending disaster.
‘I’m in Tampa trying to buy water online because stores are out of water and this is crazy price gouging!’ one Twitter user tweeted, attaching a photo of a 24-bottle case of Dasani water that sells online for $22.20.
Amazon was selling 24-packs of Aquafina water for $20, even though it usually sells for less than $6.
All highway tolls were suspended throughout the state on Tuesday afternoon, and South Florida Schools have been preemptively closed Thursday and Friday. Pictured a man fills up his car in Miami at a store where all of the windows are boarded up
The hurricane could potentially hit most of the US’s southeast coast
Amazon is being accused of price gouging by selling bottles of water at nearly ten times its normal cost to Floridians eager to stock up in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. Shoppers are seen above waiting for a shipment of water Wednesday in Altamonte Springs, Florida
One Twitter user wondered aloud whether charging $21.95 for a gallon of distilled water constituted price gouging
This Twitter user based in Tampa wanted to buy a case of water that sold on Amazon for $22.20
Diana Moskovitz posted this screenshot of an Amazon page which offered expedited shipping of a case of water for $179.25
Another Twitter user, Diana Moskovitz, said that she looked into using Amazon Prime to ship more water to her family in South Florida.
‘Check out the price they quoted me,’ Moskovitz tweeted.
The photo attached to her tweet shows a screenshot of Amazon’s page in which a 24-bottle case of Nestle water is sold for $18.48 – which does not include an expedited shipping and handling charge of $179.25.
One possible explanation for the higher prices is an algorithm Amazon uses known as ‘dynamic pricing.’
Similar to a practice employed by ride-sharing app Uber, Amazon uses an algorithm which automatically adjusts pricing based on demand.
Whenever demand for a certain product spikes, the price is bumped up as well, according to CBS Moneywatch.
Dynamic pricing is legal, though experts say that whenever it is noticed during times of crisis like a major storm or a terrorist attack, it inevitably leads to accusations of price gouging.
Amazon denied that it uses a ‘surge pricing’ or that its practices amount to gouging.
‘We do not engage in surge pricing,’ a spokesperson for the company said.
‘Amazon prices do not fluctuate by region or delivery location. Prices on bottled water from Amazon, and third-party sellers that are doing their own fulfillment to customers, have not widely fluctuated in the last month.’
The Florida Attorney General’s Office told the Miami Herald that even though Amazon is not based in Florida, it could be in danger of running afoul of state price gouging laws.
‘If a business is selling an essential commodity to persons who are using it in Florida as a result of the emergency, the business may be subject to Florida’s price gouging law,’ the office said in a statement.
Leigh Dow says she saw this dramatic jump, but later said Delta assisted her after she vented about the price jump on Twitter
John Lyons was shocked to see the price of a ticket jump after he booked his daughter’s flight for $800 less the day before
People also shared outrage on Wednesday after the price for flights out of Miami skyrocketed.
Airline customers took to social media after trying to book tickets for themselves and family members and finding astronomically high prices.
One woman, Leigh Dow, tweeted a screengrab of a Delta ticket price changing from $547.50 to $3,258.50.
Two hours later she tweeted she had spoke to Delta and they were able to assist her.
She took to the social media network to say: ‘Delta reached out & helped tremendously. Note to travelers, always call airline directly if something doesn’t look right.’
John Lyons, whose daughter goes to school at the University of Miami bought his daughter a ticket home to Boston at a reasonable rate on Monday evening at around $160.00, according to Yahoo.
But the next day when he went back to buy his daughter’s roommate a ticket he saw that the price had been risen from $160 to $1,020.
‘I logged in and expected to see $160, and frankly if I had seen $260 I wouldn’t have reacted. And I logged in and saw, $1,020, and I about had a heart attack,’ Lyons said.
Hurricane Irma is estimated to be one of the largest storms ever emanating from the Atlantic
Gas stations are empty has people prepare for Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017 in Sunny Isles, Florida
Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks to the media about Hurricane Irma while flanked by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
However, other companies stepped up to help those in Florida either to prepare their homes or to attempt to evacuate.
About 800 truckloads of supplies including water, flashlights, batteries, ready-to-eat foods and other supplies were dispatched from Walmart headquarters in Arkansas to Florida on Tuesday.
Home Depot’s Rapid Response Team send truckloads of supplies from Atlanta to Florida Tuesday night.
A Target spokesman said Florida stores would be getting additional supplies ahead of the storm, expected to hit Florida as early as Sunday.
‘We’re providing stores with additional supplies that we know our guests need to stock up, including water, batteries, flashlights, toiletries, camping supplies, cleaning supplies and nonperishable food,’Target spokeswoman Jenna Reck said. ‘We’ll continue to push as many products to our stores as we safely can before the hurricane hits.’
Additionally, a number of airline companies have said they will cap the prices on their flights out of Florida and out of the Caribbean so that people don’t have to chose between spending an outrageous amount of money and being safe.
On Wednesday, lines stretched at grocery stores, gas stations and home improvement stores as Floridians stocked up for the storm and readied their houses to face the gale-force winds.
Lines stretched around 50 cars deep at one gas station in Cooper City, which is southwest of Fort Lauderdale, by 5:30am Wednesday. The station had been out of fuel on Tuesday night, but received an overnight delivery.
Workers at a station in Doral, near Miami, put yellow caution tape around pumps Wednesday morning after running out of gasoline. Local news outlets reported both long lines and stations that had no gas across South Florida.
The Hurricane Center in Miami said hurricane-force winds extended 50 miles from Irma’s center and tropical storm-force winds extended 175 miles.
President Donald Trump declared emergencies in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and authorities in the Bahamas said they would evacuate six southern islands.
Trump says his administration is closely watching Hurricane Irma.
People make Hurricane Irma preparations at a Winn Dixie store in South Florida on September 6, 2017 in Hallandale, Florida
Drivers wait in line for gasoline in Altamonte Springs, Fla., ahead of the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Irma, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017
From left, Denise Cabrera, Veronica Vicente, Alejandra Sanchez and Carolina Rodriguez, prep for hurricane Irma and shop for non-perishable food in Gainesville, Fla
Miami residents are buying water and supplies to be prepared for Hurricane Irma in Miami, Florida, USA, 06 September 2017