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WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – Voluntary evacuations are in place for parts of Palm Beach County and Florida’s Treasure Coast as  Hurricane Matthew moves closer to Florida’s East Coast.

At last check, evacuations were in place for Palm Beach County and parts of the Treasure Coast. Click here for the latest evacuation orders.

Meantime, the scramble is on for those preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.

Getting gas is becoming more difficult in Palm Beach County. Many stations are dry after people made mad dashes Tuesday night to fill up – some waiting in line for more than 45 minutes.

In Fort Pierce, long lines formed Wednesday at gas stations as some Palm Beach residents drove more than an hour North in search of fuel.

“We’re from Royal Palm Beach, we went to go get gas but they had no gas there,” said Selma Davis.

Rob Slaymaker had the same problem.

“Nothing from Royal Palm to here, so we’re going to go further into town to see if there’s something there,” he said.

And many tourists will need gas too.

They’re hitting the road after emergency managers called for a voluntary evacuation of the barrier island all up and down the Palm Beach coast.

“Back to Cincinnati. Pick up our puppy and go home,” April Foster said with a laugh. “It was nice here though, I had my birthday yesterday. I’m OK.”

Foster and her husband are heading out after the Palm Beach Shore Resort told them everyone has to go ahead of the storm.

“Better safe than sorry. Don’t want to get stuck in the shelter,” Eric Foster said. “Love this place. If they let us stay we would.”

On Singer Island, guests were told it’s time to go, so they put plan b into effect.

“I’m going to try to get back to Minnesota. Where it doesn’t blow so hard,” said  Doug Bultman from Minnesota.

“We’re going to transfer over to Fort Myers for a couple of days and call back on Friday to see how it’s doing and we may come back. If not we’ll stay over there,” said Pat Keegin from West Virginia.

Steve Messer was filling up cans of gas for his generator that would power a freezer where they stored his wife’s breast milk.

“If the deep freezer does not have power, all the breast milk goes bad and then I don’t have a way to feed our child,” said Messer. “We actually bought a generator for the sole purpose of running that deep freezer.”

Monica Alonso is boarding up her restaurant. Getting the plywood she needed was not easy.

“We got four pieces. We weren’t able to get plywood for the house, so we’re just going to hope for the best. We have some clamshells, so we’re just going to ride it out,” she said.

She’s also making plans to save all the food that have in stock.

“We have thousands of dollars of food in there, but we’ve prepared.  We have a generator that we can use for the refrigerator and freezers,” Alonso said.

“Pete,” who has been through this before, said he’s not worried.

“The generator checked out, food and the essentials, I’m ready to go,” he said. “I’ve been through one major hurricane, it’s just like any other hurricane.”

West Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Martin and Indian River County schools had a half day on Wednesday and all classes are cancelled for Thursday and Friday.

At the Vero Beach Hotel & Spa, on the barrier island near Indian River Shores, CBS4 reporter Silva Harapetian found the atmosphere eerie and quiet Wednesday afternoon. The resort closed Wednesday, asking all their guests to leave for their safety.

“We planned to go to West Palm Beach today but we are leaving for Tampa now,” said tourist Stephan Visa.

Most who live or work on the barrier islands spent the morning putting up shutters and preparing for the worst.

“If it goes where they think it’s going to go, we’ll have 50-60 mph winds and maybe a five or six-foot of surge here. It shouldn’t be terrible. The rain may get inland a little worse than over here,” said John Lane.

His words of advice for coastal dwellers and businesses.

“They need to have all the shutters up and in place. That’s the first thing and then pray that every works out well for them,” said Lane.

And at marinas all over the area, boat owners are trying to secure their pricey vessels.

The North Palm Beach Marina is considered a safe harbor during storms. But if boats aren’t properly secured, they could end up in a big heap.

“I have no experience with a hurricane. I came from the north, moved here from Maryland.  I need to be as prepared as possible,” said boat owner Myrna Aiello.

If you need a safe place to stay, eight shelters are already up and running in Palm Beach County. They are:

  • Atlantic High School, 2455 W Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach.
  • Boynton Beach High School, 4975 Park Ridge Blvd., Boynton Beach.
  • Lakeshore Middle School, 425 West Canal Street North, Belle Glade.
  • Forest Hill High School, 6901 Parker Ave., West Palm Beach.
  • Pahokee Middle School, 900 Larrimore Road Pahokee.
  • Palm Beach Central High School, 8499 Forest Hill Blvd., Wellington.
  • Palm Beach Gardens High School, 4245 Holly Drive, Palm Beach Gardens.
  • Park Vista High School, 7900 Jog Road, Lake Worth.

The following shelters will open at 9 a.m. Thursday:

  • Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School, 1501 Avenue U, West Palm Beach.
  • Independence Middle School, 4001 Greenway Drive, Jupiter.
  • John I. Leonard High School, 4701 10th Ave. N, Greenacres.
  • Seminole Ridge High School, 4601 Seminole Pratt Whitney Road, Loxahatchee.
  • West Boca Community High School, 12811 Glades Road, West Boca.

Click here for the latest information in Palm Beach County.


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