Sandbags handed out to Miami Beach residents ahead of evacuation notice

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - The Mayor of Miami Beach is expected to announce an evacuation notice as early as Wednesday, ahead of Hurricane Irma.

“We’d like you to plan now to potentially vacate the city,” said Mayor Philip Levine. “Hurricane Irma is one of the most powerful storms in the history of the Atlantic basin. It’s more powerful than Harvey — potentially more powerful than Andrew.”

Miami Beach residents were up before the sun, Wednesday morning, collecting their free sandbags in anticipation for Hurricane Irma.

More than 5,000 sandbags were handed out, Tuesday, by the City of Miami Beach, and there will be an additional 2,000 bags handed out on Wednesday.

Residents can receive up to 10 free bags from the Public Works Department on 451 Dade Blvd. However, proper identification showing you are a Miami Beach resident must be presented in order to receive the free sandbags.

7News was on the scene where residents were not taking any chances, saying they live in flood-prone areas. “I do plan to evacuate…and prepare everything in my home and hope for the best.”

Park rangers and firefighters were also on scene, picking up sandbags to ensure their buildings are properly secured for the storm.

On Tuesday, the tense and long wait times led to police showing up after a call about aggressive behavior at the Public Works Department. Some people waited for more than two and a half hours.

“I tried yesterday and the line was all the way to 41st street,” said one woman. “It was three hours long, according to Facebook.”

“I think there is no way a city can get prepared for such a big hurricane,” said Lorenzo Deleao. “So I’m more concerned about kind of like the logistics.”

According to officials, in case an evacuation notice is issued for the City of Miami Beach, residents will also be able to park their cars in city parking decks to avoid flooding.

“Parking garages will become available for car storage, after a formal evacuation notice is given today,” said Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco. “After the notice is given today, all of the city’s municipal parking garages, or at least most of them — the gate guards will go up and they’ll be made available to our residents to store their vehicles.”

For more information on locations handing out sandbags, click here.

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