FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Some residents of Broward who live east of US 1 are wasting no time in getting out.
On Wednesday, a mandatory evacuation order was issued for them along with people who live in mobile homes and low-lying areas.
Penny Johns and Karl Hupp of Hollywood told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that they were alarmed by the strength of Hurricane Irma and planned to evacuate by Saturday morning at the latest.
“We plan to go three miles to the west as we live east of US 1 and we are supposed to evacuate and we will follow the recommendations,” said Johns said. “Better to be safe than sorry. This is a serious storm.”
Hupp added, “This is a monster storm. You can. We were in Homestead after Hurricane Andrew and we saw what can happen.”
Around Broward, there were long lines for gasoline and water at places like a Target store behind the Broward Mall in Plantation.
Private contractors Dave Baltz and George Howard said they received a record number of calls to put up shutters around Broward County for homeowners and businesses.
“With this hurricane there seems to be more people taking this seriously. We have been getting back to back calls to put up shutters. At this point at midday we have already received 10 calls and we are going to keep on going. It has been busier than ever,” Baltz said.
If the storm causes extensive damage, Baltz expects to be busier than ever.
The county opened 14 shelters at noon to house those that have nowhere else to go.
Those leaving the area are urged to have patience, long lines at gas stations persist. Waits at some stations have been said to be up to three hours.
Sy Garber from Boca Raton was out before dawn looking for gas.
“I went to four stations and they were out,” he said.
He ended up at a 7-Eleven in Fort Lauderdale which had gas but the wait was two hours.
“They would block the traffic, you can’t even get by, it’s like the world is coming to an end,” he said.
Frank Sensec also ended up at the 7-Eleven.
“I live in Hialeah and I drove away out of there because it was pretty bad over there,” he said.
Sensec said he needed gas but he has other worries too.
“When Wilma hit us we were out (of electricity) for about three weeks. So, I just don’t want to go through that again,” he said.
Broward emergency managers say they prefer people who evacuate to go further inland to stay with family and friends on Thursday. They feel that way they can prevent an excessive amount of cars on the roads late Friday or Saturday morning when the weather will be deteriorating.
If the gas lines are bad, finding bottled water can be even worse. Store after store is selling out of the liquid gold moments after stocking their shelves.
Joann Bowleg said she got lucky at a Publix in Hollywood when a second shipment of H2O arrived at the store on Sheridan Street just east of U.S. One.
“Thank God we got water because we couldn’t find it nowhere else,” she said.
“It’s such a relief, we’ve been looking for water for the past days,” said Jennifer Petersen.
She said getting her hands on it meant getting up extra early.
“I was here when it opened so you know that was necessary,” she said. “But other than that they seem to be resupplying pretty quickly.”
At Sheridan Lumber in Hollywood, some people lined up for hours waiting for plywood.
Jamie Rashbaum said, “I am hoping to get plywood. When I first got here, they originally said there would be plywood and said I could get as much as my car could hold.”
But Rashbaum was not able to get plywood as the store ran out of it.
Manager Francisco Vidal said, “All the supplies are running out. We are down to the wire.”
The Humane Society of Broward County has evacuated more than 175 dogs and cats ahead of the storm. They were flown to an animal rescue foundation in northern California in hopes of finding new homes in that area.
“By taking the vast majority of the population of animals that are here at the facility out of harm’s way than we can concentrate on other things after the storm,” said spokeswoman Cherie Wachter.
Broward residents can sign up for AccessBROWARD to receive email alerts. Officials are asking that residents follow @ReadyBroward on Twitter. You can also report damage at the county’s site. If you’re in Broward and need to protect your pet before and during a hurricane, click here.
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