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Hurricane evacuations and neighborhood risk

Have a question about Hurricane Irma? We’re here to help. Ask yours on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below. Be sure to check out our Hurricane Irma guide for more information.

As of Friday night, evacuations have been ordered for all mobile homes, all of Zone A and Zone B, plus parts of Zone C.  The latest information is available at Miami-Dade County’s Emergency Status page

How will you know whether you need to evacuate?

The best way to keep tabs on evacuation orders is to sign up to receive emergency text alerts from Miami-Dade County. You can sign up here. The mayor’s office will also be announcing evacuation orders via every form of media out there.

Here is a map of evacuation zones. If you’re on a desktop, you can type your address into this interactive evacuation map, which will also tell you your nearest evacuation center. Know your zone.

Here is the list of evacuation centers. Here is a list of pet-friendly shelters. This is a list of what you should bring with you.

Here is a list of evacuation bus pick-up points (PDF). It’s sorted by zone. Your zone is listed on the evacuation zone map.

When is it too late to drive out of the area?

Submitted by Jonathan Kolbe

As Bryan Norcross says, “Don’t dawdle.” If there’s an evacuation order, evacuate. Traffic may be heavy, and you don’t want to get caught on the road in the storm.

Should you evacuate if you are in zone C-E? 

Submitted by Susan Jacobson

Unless you are in a zone the county has ordered to evacuate, it is recommended to shelter in place (that means with shutters or plywood, and all the other precautions). The shelters are mostly meant for people who have to leave their homes. Too many people on the roads helps no one. That being said, if you want to get the hell out of a dodge, it’s not a bad idea – but plan your departure wisely. Do not leave if there is a chance you will get stuck on the road as Hurricane Irma arrives.

Those evacuation zones are based not just on flooding, but on wind risk. They are considering everything as they determine who to evacuate. To make sure your home is as ready as it can be if you are staying, check out these preparation lists.

Where are the most flood-prone neighborhoods?

(Question from Marlon Hill)

This storm surge simulator allows you to type in an address to see how storm surge storm will affect that area. This flood zone map will show your neighborhood’s flooding risk.

What is the difference between an evacuation zone and a storm surge zone?

An evacuation zone is an area whose residents will be required to leave for a storm. A storm surge zone is an area that will face 1.5 feet or more of storm surge. Many storm surge planning zones are in evacuation zones.

You can enter your address on this map to find out what your storm surge risk is.

What’s the longest you should wait? Will they force residents to leave the beach?

(Questions from Ben Evans and Zelalem Negussie) 

It is strongly, strongly discouraged to ride out the storm if you are in an evacuation zone, even if the evacuation isn’t mandatory. You should make plans to leave as soon as the evacuation order is issued. Traffic will only get worse.

My high-rise says it’s hurricane proof. Does that mean it’s safe?

(Question from Jamie Maniscalco)

Many high-rises are near the water and are therefore in evacuation zones. If an evacuation is declared for your neighborhood, you should heed that.

Even if the building is safe, storm surge could leave you cut off from emergency services after the storm.

Something to think about: wind speeds climb as you get higher off the ground. If you’re on the 40-something floor of your building, wind speeds could be a whole category higher than they are on the ground. The building will likely sway.

The Miami Herald has a more detailed rundown.