Reporting Peter D’Oench
MARATHON (CBSMiami) – The Florida Keys look as though they will feel the brunt of Tropical Storm Isaac when it passes over the area Sunday into Monday.
In Marathon, head of the emergency management center, Irene Toner, said there is a local state of emergency because of the threat of Isaac. In addition, plans have been pushed up to open three shelters in the Keys as Isaac takes aim at the area.
Schools in Monroe County, including Marathon, have already been closed for Monday.
Some residents in Marathon have no plans on leaving the area, despite the dangers Isaac may present.
“I’ve got a concrete house. I’ve got impact glass on all my windows,” said Sam Williams of Marathon. “I feel like I’m pretty safe. I don’t see the need to get out of here. I went through Hurricane Wilma in 2005.”
For tourists in the Keys, they are taking heed of what Isaac could do and many have started making their way out of Monroe County.
“I’ve seen pictures of Andrew, actually I was here at that time when Andrew went by and I don’t think I’d like to live through it again,” said tourist Edie Ottino.
Tourists like Agnes and Wiebe Glastra told CBS4′s Peter D’Oench that they are glad they were scheduled to leave on Friday.
“It’s good,” said Agnes Glastra of the Netherlands. “I don’t know what to expect. I have never seen a hurricane.”
“I am glad we are leaving too,” said Wiebe Glastra. “We will follow the news through the day and find out about it later.”
Unfortunately for businesses on U.S. 1, the exodus of tourists means a loss of business as well.
“I’m losing business, the tourists are leaving and not coming back,” said Mike Klimpi, manager of the Sandal Factory. “They want to get away from the storm.”
Monroe County will open three shelters by Saturday afternoon, including: Key West High School, Stanley Elementary, and Coral Shores High School. All of the shelters will open starting at 2 p.m. Saturday.
“We are expecting bad conditions and strong winds by Sunday morning,” said Monroe County Emergency Operations Center director Irene Toner.
“Don’t dismiss the fact that it’s a tropical storm,” said Toner. “A lot of people say, ‘Oh, it’s only a tropical storm, we’re fine.’ This is a very large storm and it’s a slow moving storm. So it still poses a great danger.”
And she warns residents, “Have your emergency kits ready. Be ready to lose power. You should have plenty of batteries and cash on hand in case atms are knocked out and all the medications you need as well as canned goods.”
“And don’t go outside when there are high winds,” she said. “You get hit by a 2 by 4 or other flying debris.”
>> Visit the CBS4 Tropics Page for an interactive Tropical Tracker, the newest computer model tracks and more.
>> Here’s how to use the CBS4 site to prepare for and monitor Isaac: