MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine chose an unusual spot to ride out Hurricane Irma.
At 7 a.m. he was in his office at City Hall despite the city being under a mandatory evacuation order.
Levine said there were no reports of serious flooding at tha time and he planned to be at the city’s emergency operations center at Mt. Sinai Medical Center when the worst of the storm hit.
The mayor said he’s thankful that so many residents heeding the evacuation order and left.
“I think because of the fact that we came out early, very aggressively, for the mandatory evacuation, it made a very big difference,” he said. “For the last few days it’s been somewhat of a ghost town, the causeways have been very open, so the people had the opportunity to leave, and I think our messaging was very consistent, very aggressive, and the town was barren, you literally couldn’t see anyone on the streets in the last few days.”
Levine said he was outside for a little bit and saw several trees down, but the worst was yet to come. As for the pumps to drain the rain and storm surge that is expected, Levine said they’re out gunned by Mother Nature.
“Right now Sunset Harbor and those areas are not flooding as of yet. However we know that if the massive, massive rainfall comes, there are no pumps, there are no anything, that are a match for a hurricane let alone a hurricane of this magnitude,” he said.
Levine said there will be a night time curfew in effect for Sunday and Monday nights. Emergency crews and first responders will return to the city from the mainland once it’s safe and begin clearing the roads.
“We haven’t made a determination yet when we feel it will be safe to come back to Miami Beach. At this point, absolutely not. We want no one to attempt to come back to Miami Beach and no one to leave their homes,” said Levine.
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