Keys Visitor Egress Winding Down;Remain Inside During Storm
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Visitors in the Florida Keys, with their own transportation, should have either departed or should leave now to facilitate a safe egress to the South Florida mainland.
Keys officials counsel motorists not to be on the Overseas Highway or other Keys roads after sunrise Sunday, due to the onset of expected tropical storm-force winds.
Currently, traffic on the Overseas Highway (U.S. 1) is light and flowing smoothly at the speed limit, said Col. Rick Ramsay, of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Tolls are suspended on Card Sound Road.
A number of major Keys lodging entities — constructed to withstand major hurricanes — have remained open to accommodate visitors who could not leave. For lodging details, go to www.fla-keys.com.
Visitors who have stayed are directed to remain indoors and not go outside during the storm.
Monroe County Airports Director Peter Horton reports both Key West International and Florida Keys Marathon Airports are closed. He reported that there were no stranded tourists at Key West airport.
Four county shelters, that will accept visitors, open include Key West High School at 2100 Flagler Ave.; Sugarloaf School, mile marker 19; Stanley Switlik School, at MM 48 in Marathon and Coral Shores High School at MM 90 in Islamorada have opened. People must bring their own supplies and bedding.
All storm preparations, including the securing of property and boats, should be completed.
Coast Guard officials announced the Port of Key West would close to maritime traffic at 11 p.m. Saturday and remain closeduntil the storm passes and navigational aids can be inspected.
All county and municipal offices and public schools are to be closed to all Monday and to students Tuesday. County and municipal garbage pickup is canceled Monday, so residents are asked to not place refuse containers outside residences and businesses.
All Keys hospitals are open and fire/rescue and law enforcement services are operating at this time. Hospitals are to remain open during and after the storm, but county fire rescue units evaluate their ability to respond when winds reach gale force, according to Monroe County Fire Rescue Chief Jim Callahan.