As Hurricane Irma approaches South Florida, Miami-Dade County has issued a voluntary evacuation order for Zones A and B that includes the City of Miami Beach. For optimum safety, the city is encouraging residents and businesses to evacuate using the most direct route to their destination, which include: A1A Northbound/Collins Avenue, 41 Street to Julia Tuttle Causeway and 5 Street to MacArthur Causeway westbound. City Hall will be closed on Thursday and Friday, and a list of all cancelled municipal events and programs, please click here.
In preparation for the storm:
All city garages are now open for residents to park free of cost, with the exception of the City Hall garage.
For a safer and more comfortable location during the storm, the city recommends residents find shelter with family and friends on the mainland. Taking into consideration the high volume of residents and additional low-lying areas evacuating, traffic congestion is expected. Miami-Dade County is expected to open evacuation shelters soon for those who are unable to make necessary accommodations. A list of evacuation centers can be found here. The City of Miami Beach continues to follow Miami-Dade County’s direction in regards to evacuation procedures and updates.
Over 11,000 sandbags have been filled by city staff in preparation for the storm and will be distributing until inclement weather begins. Please monitor the city’s social media for distribution locations. Solely for Miami Beach residents, a federal ID or a utility bill with a Miami Beach address must be provided for proof of residency. Ten sandbags are allotted per family.
Removal of all yard decor, including campaign signs, is necessary to prevent projectiles during the hurricane from affecting your home or neighbor’s home. The city is encouraging all residents to take down these items down and place them back after the storm has passed.
For more information on hurricane preparation and evacuation, find the 2017 English & Spanish Hurricane Guide here. Informational videos can also be found on the city webpage for resident use. They include important information such as: how to stay informed, prepare a kitand properly plan.
Removing boats from the water is crucial. The U.S. Coastguard is likely to lock down the bridges in the coming days so boat owners are urged to take proper precautions by removing their boats from the water and taking them further inland. If residents must leave their boat in the water, the city is advising they anchor it, secure extra lines and add chafe protection. For more specific advice on relocating boats, check with local marinas.
The Miami Beach Convention Center Reconstruction Project’s contractor is currently safeguarding the building and job site in preparation for Hurricane Irma. Crews are securing all project materials, hardware and signs, as well as removing any loose debris. All lanes along Washington Avenue between 17 Street and Dade Boulevard are expected to reopen by the end of the day today. City staff is ensuring responsible parties for private construction sites are making the same effort in safeguarding their sites.
A list of evacuation pick-up sites are listed here in the case that Miami-Dade County announces an emergency evacuation. Bus transportation to evacuation shelters on the mainland will be provided by Miami-Dade County. County transit buses will provide transportation to these shelters from 21 different locations and cease operation once Tropical Storm winds arrive. If a resident is not located in close proximity to an evacuation site, they are encouraged to take the Miami Beach trolley or regular public transit to the nearest location. For safety reasons, the City of Miami Beach trolley service will cease operation for safety reasons three hours prior to sustained winds reaching a forecast of 39 mph. Transit services will resume as soon as possible after the hurricane passes.
High-rise buildings may provide a false sense of security due to residents feeling they will not be affected by flooding. These condo residents are encouraged to evacuate considering their vulnerability to high wind speeds during the storm.
While city staff prepare the barrier island for the storm, residents are expected to follow expert recommendations from the county to stay safe through the hurricane. It’s crucial to not wait until the last minute and make proper plans to get on the road.
In an effort to prevent projectiles during the storm, staff is sweeping the city and conducting debris removal throughout the streets, as well as strongly discouraging people to not dump in the right-of-way.
Registered people in special populations, including those who are dependent on electrical equipment for medical needs, are being evacuated to medical facilities by the Special Needs Registry. If residents have not yet signed up, they are encouraged to call 311 as soon as possible. The Office of Housing & Community Services is out in the field encouraging homeless to take city buses to local homeless shelters. Once the homeless shelters are filled, the same people will be taken to general population shelters that are expected to open soon. As of yesterday, city staff has been consistently reaching out to the elderly individuals living in buildings to ensure that they have made proper accommodations.
After the storm:
Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami Beach will work together to determine a full or phased re-entry based on initial damages. For the safety of our community, Miami Beach Police will be monitoring re-entry into the city once the storm passes. Residents must provide a proof of residency with a federal ID and/or utility bill for re-entry.
Employees who work in Miami Beach must provide proof of business ownership or a letter from an employer to re-enter Miami Beach.
In regards to condominiums and hotel staff, Miami Beach Department of Emergency Management pre-registers representatives from each property. Those property owners or designated representatives are issued hang tags that corresponds to their drivers licenses so they can be allowed back into Miami Beach. This is done so that a limited number of people can re-enter with the sole purpose of damage assessment. After a storm, engineers and property managers from these properties are the ones qualified to give initial damage assessments, while the residents of the condos and the guests of the hotels are in safer locations.