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    Posted September 7, 2008 by
    Key Largo to Key West, Florida
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Ida's effects

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    Florida Keys & Key West Evacuation Now Ends for Hurricane Ike_Soundtrack www.SirCedrick.com

    **Keys Residents Who Evacuated for Ike Can NOW Return Monroe County Emergency Management and Monroe County Sheriff's Office officials have completed assessments of the Overseas Highway and are suggesting those residents that evacuated for Hurricane Ike begin returning to the Keys now. Although the National Hurricane Center has discontinued tropical storm warnings from North Key Largo through Key West, motorists should exercise caution while traveling on the highway in the event that any remaining outer fringes of Ike bring brief periods of strong winds and rainfall. Keys tourism officials advise that visitors should wait until Thursday to return to the region. The vast majority of hotels, attractions and restaurants should be operating by then. Visitors should make reservations before traveling to the Keys. A few tourism businesses, including fishing and dive boat operators, might need another day to get ready. Florida Keys Marathon Airport and Key West International Airport are reopening for general aviation activity at noon Wednesday. Key West is anticipating the return of commercial air service by no later than early Thursday morning. Coast Guard officials advise that small boats should remain in port until winds and seas subside. A small craft advisory, issued by the Key West National Weather Service, is in effect and is likely to continue through Thursday evening. All major hospitals in the Keys are fully functional. Monroe County Public Schools are scheduled to reopen Thursday. Keys utility services reported a 3:42 a.m. Wednesday morning power failure from Tavernier through Key West due to debris in the main transmission line. Linemen were able to effect a cleanup and power was restored for the majority of customers shortly after 6 a.m. Some scattered outages still remain but utility workers are quickly addressing the situation. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo has reopened and other Keys state parks should be reopening Thursday and Friday.

    +ADDITIONAL HELP AND RESOURCES*+ Keys Visitors Bureau: (800) FLA-KEYS, http://www.fla-keys.com/ Monroe County Emergency Information: (800) 955-5504 Monroe County Situation Report: http://www.monroecounty-fl.gov/ Monroe County Sheriff's Office: http://www.keysso.net/ County Public Access Television: Channel 76 on Comcast Cable Key West Weather: www.weather.gov/keywest National Hurricane Center Web site: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
  • *************************************** Monroe County Sheriff's Office *Update on conditions - September 9, 2008 - 10 a.m. * We have a traffic accident on SR4 on Little Torch Key, off of the highway. A vehicle hit a power pole, reportedly breaking the pole in half. The driver of the vehicle reportedly has minor injuries. The Sheriff's Office would like to stress that it is not safe to be driving in this weather. Sudden wind gusts are making it very dangerous to travel.* In addition, deputies have reported a possible tornado which knocked down some trees near the 106 mile marker at Shell World. No injuries from this incident. * The tractor trailer rig which overturned at the 72 mile marker of the highway has been lifted up by two wreckers and will be removed momentarily. Traffic is currently alternating in that area.* * Sea Oats beach at the 75 mm of the highway is still a problem with sand and other debris on the roadway. Equipment is on the scene and workers are attempting to clear that area, but there is currently a delay.* ********************************************* Monroe County School District Update Hurricane Ike, September 9, 2008 - 12:30 p.m. It is anticipated that tropical storm force winds from Ike will continue to blow well into the late afternoon hours of Tuesday delaying a safe return, in order to ensure the safety of our children and our staff, Monroe County Schools will be canceled Wednesday, September 10th. Classes will resume Thursday, September 11th at their regularly scheduled time. Providing a safe and orderly reopening of our schools is extremely important and we must take every aspect into account when providing school services to our community. ----- Monroe County Office of Emergency Management Hurricane Ike update, September 9, 2008 - 9:45 a.m. A tropical storm warning continues for the entire Florida Keys. The hurricane watch for the Keys was discontinued Monday afternoon. According to meteorologists at the Key West National Weather Service Office, the Keys are experiencing the worst of the weather conditions right now. Sustained winds of about 30 to 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph is being reported throughout the Keys. Rainfall has been light. Weather conditions should begin to improve in the late afternoon. Keys Emergency Management officials are urging residents to stay indoors, saying that flying debris and possible downed power lines make it dangerous to be outside. Emergency medical facilities are extremely limited and a quick response time is not guaranteed. Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputies urge people to stay off roads until conditions improve. Tuesday morning, a Publix tractor-trailer flipped at mile marker 72 on the Overseas Highway due to a heavy wind gust. The driver had only minor injuries. An auto accident at mile marker 27.7 has resulted in several power poles being knocked down. There are no reports in injuries as yet. There has been some minor flooding on several Keys roads including mile marker 75 on the Overseas Highway in Islamorada and in Key West, South Roosevelt Boulevard, Atlantic Boulevard and the southern ends of Duval, Simonton and Whitehead Streets. The have been some minor power outages through the Keys, but Keys Energy and Florida Keys Electric Cooperative crews have quickly responded to them. U.S. Coast Guard officials stress that boaters should remain in port. Rough bay waters and extremely dangerous offshore seas can make boating deadly during storms. Almost all of the Coast Guard's rescue assets and personnel have prepared for the hurricane and may not be available for immediate response. Key West and Florida Keys Marathon airports are closed and there are no commercial flights today. Given no significant impacts to the airport, Monroe County Airports Director Peter Horton anticipates commercial service to resume Wednesday afternoon or by Thursday morning. Officials are insisting people that have evacuated to remain out of the Keys until Wednesday and an "all-clear" is given. Details are to be provided at
  • http://www.keysso.net/ or http://www.monroecounty-fl.gov/. Officials anticipate that visitors should be able to return to the Keys Friday, perhaps on Thursday. The Florida Keys Web site at http://www.fla-keys.com/ will provide a specific date when vacationers may return. -
    ********************************************************* Monroe County Office of Emergency Management *Clarification of release issued *** 11 a.m. __ Sept 08, 2008* There seems to be some confusion about what we mean when we say " the evacuation has expired". The evacuation has NOT been canceled and it is NOT time for evacuees to return to the Keys. The safe time to evacuate has passed - our evacuation order for residents was in place from Sunday until Monday at noon because we wanted people to leave in time to avoid danger from the storm. The most important points in our last press release are: Residents who evacuated the Keys should wait to return until after the possibility of tropical storm winds is past, which should be by Wednesday morning. There are no emergency services available in the Keys and hospitals are to remain closed until the storm is past. Monroe County Sheriff's Office officials urged those in the Keys to remain inside during the storm. Driving on rain-flooded streets may disable cars and being outside can be very risky with flying debris and downed live power lines. U.S. Coast Guard officials stress that boaters should remain in port. Rough bay waters and extremely dangerous offshore seas can make boating deadly during storms. Residents should keep a close eye on the storm as it approaches and should monitor local radio and television stations for future announcements about when it is safe to return. Both the Sheriff's office Web site at www.keysso.net and Monroe County's Web site at www.monroecounty-fl.gov will have details regarding when it is safe to return. -
    Mo ****************************************************** Monroe County Office of Emergency Management 3 p.m._Hurricane Ike update - September 7, 2008 Residents can take pets to FIU Shelter Monroe County Emergency Management Officials have just worked out an agreement with Miami-Dade County Emergency Management to assist with Monroe County residents who need to take their pets with them to the shelter at Florida International University. Residents with pets will be met at the shelter by a representative of a Miami based animal control representative. They will take custody of the pet(s) and take care of them for the duration of the storm. The pets will be returned to FIU once the storm has passed, before residents return to the county. Pets will be allowed on county buses en route to the shelter at FIU if the pets are properly caged. ************************* Monroe County Office of Emergency Management Hurricane Ike update - 11:15 a.m. The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane watch for the entire Florida Keys from Ocean Reef south and west to the Dry Tortugas. Keys resident and visitor evacuations are in progress. Evacuations for residents in the Lower Keys and Key West began at 8 a.m. Sunday. Start time for the Middle Keys including Marathon is at noon. Those residing in the Upper Keys, including Key Largo, Islamorada and mainland Monroe County, should depart beginning at 4 p.m. The evacuation is to continue at least through noon Monday. Officials in Monroe County are monitoring the evacuation. A scan of Florida Department of Transportation traffic cameras late Sunday morning indicates traffic is flowing smoothly on the Overseas Highway. Tolls on Card Sound Road have been lifted to assist in the movement of traffic out of the Keys. The Snake Creek drawbridge in Islamorada and the drawbridge at Jewfish Creek in Key Largo will no longer open for boat traffic to avoid any traffic delays. Based on the storm's current projected track, the Key West National Weather Service forecasts tropical storm force winds should begin impacting the Keys early Tuesday morning and lasting until late night Tuesday, or early Wednesday morning. Based on the storm's current projected track, Key West weather forecasters believe storm surge will not exceed four-and-a-half feet and could be less. All Keys county and state parks are closed. Keys hospital emergency rooms are to remain open until 7 a.m. Monday. They may remain open longer if there are enough personnel to man them. The last commercial airline flight out of the Key West Airport is at 7 p.m. Sunday and there are still a few seats available. Rental car facilities are to remain open until 10 p.m. The Key West field, as well as the airfield at Florida Keys Marathon Airport, is to remain open for general aviation traffic until noon Monday. There are still rental cars available at the Key West airport. They are to remain open for rentals as long as cars are available, or until the terminal closes at 10 p.m. Sunday. Postal Service is closed and there is no access to post office boxes. Monroe County public schools are closed Monday and Tuesday. Check Monroe County's web site for bus schedules heading out of the Keys. The web site address is www.monroecounty-fl.gov. ### *ADDITIONAL HELP AND RESOURCES Visit Florida Hotel Hotline: (800) 287-8598 Monroe County Emergency Information: (800) 955-5504 Monroe County Situation Report: www.monroecounty-fl.gov Monroe County Sheriff's Office: www.keysso.net County Public Access Television: Channel 76 on Comcast Cable Key West Weather: www.weather.gov/keywest National Hurricane Center Web site: www.nhc.noaa.gov
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