MIAMI (WSVN) - Due to Thursday’s arrival of Hurricane Matthew, which is now a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph, there is a voluntary evacuation for residents living in low-lying areas, mobile homes and unstable structures in both Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
A voluntary evacuation is also underway for residents east of Federal Highway in Hollywood.
As of Thursday morning, more than 1.5 million Floridians were residing in evacuation zones.
Due to these evacuations across Florida, Gov. Rick Scott has directed the Florida Department of Transportation to suspend all tolls in affected areas.
For those in evacuation zones who need a warm, nutritious meal, All Saints Catholic Church in Oakland Park will be serving free soup throughout the day and night, Thursday, for the public. Furthermore, the homeless will be allowed to sleep and receive food at their church located at 3460 Powerline Rd., Oakland Park 33309.
Miami-Dade County Shelters open to the General Public (pets not allowed):
- Michael M. Krop Senior High School, 1410 N.E. 215th St., Northeast Miami-Dade
- Booker T. Washington Senior High School, 1200 N.W. 6th Ave., Miami
- Robert Morgan Senior High School, 18180 S.W. 122 Ave., Southwest Miami-Dade
Broward County Shelters open to the General Public (pets not allowed):
- Lyons Creek Middle School, 4333 Sol Press Blvd., Coconut Creek
- Coral Glades High School, 2700 Sportsplex Drive, Coral Springs
- Rock Island Elementary/Arthur Ashe Middle School, 1701 N.W. 23rd Ave., Fort Lauderdale
- Fox Trail Elementary School, 1250 Nob Hill Rd., Davie
- Falcon Cove Middle School, 4251 Bonaventure Blvd., Weston
- Everglades High School, 17100 SW 52 Ave., Miramar
- Renaissance Middle School, 10701 Miramar Blvd., Miramar (opens Wednesday at 9 p.m.)
Specialized Shelters or Shelters that require Registration:
- Special Needs Shelter for Adults. To register, call 311.
- Pediatric Special Needs Shelters for Children. To register, call 954-713-3100.
- Pet-friendly shelter at Darwin Fuchs Pavilion, 10901 S.W. 24 St., Miami. For more information, call the Humane Society of Broward County
- Pet-friendly shelter at Millennium Middle School, 5803 N.W. 94 Ave., Tamarac (no registration required)
Broward County opened 11 shelters at 9 p.m., Wednesday. 7News cameras captured dozens of people lining up outside the Arthur Ashe Middle School campus in Fort Lauderdale.
At a news conference, Wednesday night, officials said the pet-friendly shelter at Millennium Middle School, located at 5803 N.W. 94 Ave., in Tamarac, does not require registration.
By 8:45 a.m. Thursday, Broward shelters had about 1,418 occupants inside. The shelters can hold about 7, 613 people.
However, registration for special needs shelters in Broward has closed.
For some of those with special needs, buses are the only way of getting to these shelters. Drivers, like Nakia Gordon, operate a shuttle that has been back and forth to shelters. “Broward County is providing services,” said Gordon. “So, get out there and evacuate if you want to.”
South Florida resident Bob Thomas, who will be spending the next two nights at the Arthur Ashe Middle School shelter, has lived in South Florida since 1969 and spent part of that time homeless.
Therefore, he told 7News he is taking this storm seriously. “My roof is very old. It leaks now. I’ve been trying to fix it, and every time I try to fix the leak, three new ones spring out,” he said. “If we get 100 mile an hour winds, the shingles are going to blow off, and it’s going be a disaster.”
Thomas has been through several hurricanes. “They should do what the authorities are telling them to do: pack their belongings, gas up their car, and if they don’t feel safe at home, go to a shelter,” he said.
However, one man said he simply cannot handle the amount of people in one of the shelters. “I slept on that end table down there in the wind last night, ’cause I can’t handle being with a thousand people,” said he said. “I’ve been an introvert all my life and a thousand people — I just can’t deal with them people. So, I’ll see if I can find a place out back, away from the wind tonight, and I’ll sleep out there.”
Two evacuation shelters in Broward County are for people with special needs.
For some, shelters are the only option. For many, the only way to arrive at a shelter is by taking public transit, and that’s where drivers like Nakia Gordon come in. “Broward County is providing [shuttle] services, so they can get out there to evacuate if they want to,” she said.
Meanwhile, in Miami-Dade County, American Red Cross volunteers prepared at one of four shelters opening across the county.
American Red Cross volunteers have been preparing four shelters in Miami-Dade. According to a news release, the American Red Cross will be opening 97 shelters across the state Thursday and Friday.
There are certain items allowed inside of these shelters, as John Young, Robert Morgan Elementary’s Shelter Manager, explained. “All your personal items,” he said. “You can bring any special medical needs that you might have for your family. Obviously, handicap people can bring any aids that they have or require.”
Links with more information:
- For a complete list of evacuation routes and zones in Broward County, click here.
- For a complete list of storm surge planning zones in Miami-Dade County, click here.
- Residents with questions about evacuations and shelters can call 954-713-3100 or visit floridadisaster.org.
- To keep updated, download the free American Red Cross Emergency App by clicking here.
- For information from your county Emergency Management program regarding shelter preparedness and lists of potential shelters that may be opened, please visit Shelter Information Index and choose your county.
- For currently open shelter locations and driving directions please visit floridaevacuates.com.
Palm Beach County opened eight emergency shelters at 4 p.m.,Wednesday, as well as a pet-friendly shelter.
Copyright 2017 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.