MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade County is under a voluntary evacuation for mobile home parks as of Wednesday afternoon.
Just before 5 p.m., Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued a voluntary evacuation order for mobile home residents out of an abundance of caution.
A number of shelters in the county will open starting Wednesday. Click here for a full list of open shelters.
Miami-Dade County remains under Tropical Storm Warning meaning tropical storm conditions are expected within the next 36 hours.
Despite that, Mayor Gimenez said Miami-Dade residents must prepare for the worst which is expected to come Thursday.
“We need to prepare for a possibility of hurricane force winds in the Miami area,” said Gimenez.
Officials with the National Hurricane Center say residents should still be prepared for some effects from Hurricane Matthew.
“The impact is going to be in Miami-Dade and Broward regardless of where the center goes, “ said Ed Rappaport, Deputy Director of the National Hurricane Center.
South Florida is expected to feel the effects starting around noon with the worst of Hurricane Matthew expected to be felt Thursday evening.
As for any other evacuations, Mayor Gimenez said, “If the hurricane shifts over to the west then we will modify our approach. We will modify our evacuation orders.”
Miami-Dade courts closed at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Gimenez said he’s signed a State of Emergency for the county to ease reimbursement from their federal partners.
The mayor said the county will close bridges at 8 p.m. on Wednesday and marinas at 10 a.m. on Thursday. Miami-Dade transit will run until the county experiences tropical storm force winds of 39 mph. The airport will stay open until the FAA deems it unsafe to operate.
Miami’s port closed all the gates for the first time around 1 p.m. over fears of storm surges and flooding.
The mayor said residents who are electronically dependent will be picked up and transported to area hospitals if needed.
“We’re going to start the process now. We have about 200 that were on the registry since we announced that registry yesterday. We have actually added another 200 patients and we will be bedding those,” said Gimenez.
CBS4’s Vanessa Borge spoke with residents who were well into their preparations.
Dozens of people have been lining up for sandbags throughout the day to make sure water doesn’t get into their homes and businesses.
“For my house, for my family, it’s very important,” said Carlos Ramirez.
Flooding is a big concern for many.
“We live on 74th Street. It’s been remodeled but we still have flooding,” said Elizabeth Canchola.
Canchola lived through Hurricane Katrina and isn’t taking chances on the path of Matthew.
“That thing changed in the last hour, so you never know you have to be prepared. Better to be prepared now than sorry later. Yes please be prepared,” she said.
Canchola is on the same page as Miami-Dade leaders who have told residents to get supplies before the streets are inundated with water from the downpours.
There will be bulk pick up Wednesday, even though it is not a bulk pick up day. Gimenez asked residents not to put anything else out for pick up. He said crews would go out Thursday morning, but would stop when it became unsafe.
The mayor said everyone in the county should finish their preparations by Wednesday night, including gas for vehicles, stocking up on water and taking care of their homes.
Move furniture, garbage, recycling cans to safe places. Bring your animals indoors. Make sure the shutters are secure. Have cash on hand in case of an emergency.
Some gas stations are already out of gas, while water and food are scarce in some supermarkets.
He said if bottled water is unavailable in stores, just fill up pots and pans with tap water since there is no boil order.
Many Home Depot customers also gathered supplies like plywood and grills in case their homes lose power.
Customers at one Home Depot in North Miami Beach said they had to stand in line for up to an hour just to get plywood.
“I just gotta take care of these windows. That’s my problem right now,” said Clifford Ragland, who’s nervous because he’s never been though a hurricane.
“It’s a little crazy,” said Salvador Roca. “It’s kind of hard to find a cart and then to find the right wood that you want to use to put up and then you have to make a line to cut it.”
Despite the high number of customers at Home Depot, the store manager told CBS4 News they only ran out of generators but they expect to have a shipment come in Thursday morning.
The store reopens at 6 a.m. and don’t know what time they’ll close Thursday.
Customers told CBS4’s Oralia Ortega they’ve encountered lines similar to those at Home Depot at other stores. And in some cases, they had no luck getting what they were looking for.
“I went to Sam’s, I got there around 6:15, everything was gone,” said Kelli Ragland
Gimenez said anyone who suspects price gouging should call 3-1-1 and report it.
“The message is, be prepared, make sure you have food, water, make sure that you have gasoline in your cars and generators. Do not operate your generators indoors, operate them a safe distance away from your home so that carbon monoxide does not enter your home. If you lose power, do not try to do indoor cooking with a barbecue, that’s extremely dangerous for carbon monoxide. You may want to shutter some of your more vulnerable areas of your home,” said Gimenez.
Make sure to keep an eye on social media. Each police and fire agency as well as cities are tweeting and posting important information. Miami Beach has been sending out alerts on where you can find supplies.
Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said since the Matthew has slowed, and the worst of it will impact the county Thursday night, they decided to cancel classes.
“We feel compelled to air on the side of caution and call school off for tomorrow and Friday,” said Carvalho. “For today, as we announced yesterday, all extracurricular activities and night schools have been canceled.”
As for Miami, the city’s Mayor Tomás Regalado says they are taking all the necessary precautions including securing construction sites.
“Since Monday, building inspectors have visited the construction site in the city of Miami and have ordered to cease construction tomorrow and to secure all construction materials in every construction site,” said Regalado.
The homeless population, Regalado said, was being moved to different shelters ahead of a possible hit.
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