Hurricane

You’ll need to keep off the streets longer. Several Hurricane Irma curfews extended

A view of the empty Interstate195 as the outer bands of Hurricane Irma reached South Florida early Saturday morning, September 9, 2017 in Miami.
A view of the empty Interstate195 as the outer bands of Hurricane Irma reached South Florida early Saturday morning, September 9, 2017 in Miami. dsantiago@elnuevoherald.com

Several South Florida communities have extended Hurricane Irma curfews.

The curfews were set on Saturday evening due to dangerous conditions from Category 4 Hurricane Irma. On Sunday, some of those curfews were extended: through 11 a.m. Monday in North Miami Beach, 10 a.m. Monday for Broward County, 6 a.m. Monday in Homestead, and 7 a.m. Monday in evacuation zones in Coral Gables.

Aventura also issued a curfew—effective 12 p.m. Sunday through 12 p.m. Monday, according to Eric M. Soroka, Aventura’s city manager.

Hialeah issued a curfew beginning Sunday afternoon until 7 a.m. Monday, when they will reevaluate if it needs to be extended, according to Arnie Alonso, Hialeah’s chief of staff.

“During the curfew, all pedestrian and vehicular movement is prohibited except for fire and rescue services, police services, emergency services, or hospital services,” according to a statement from Broward County’s emergency operations center.

North Miami Beach police reported roofs ripped off hotels, fires, and other dangerous conditions during Irma so far.

“We’re going to be extending the curfew as needed,” said Maj. Richard Rand of the North Miami Beach Police Department. “We cannot respond. ... People are on their own if they’re outside.”

Other curfews in South Florida, which ended Sunday morning, included:

▪ Key Biscayne, Miami, and Miami Beach through 7 a.m. Sunday

▪ North Miami through 6 a.m. Sunday

Downed power lines, trees obstructing roads, flooded streets, high wind speeds, and tornadoes make the roads unsafe for residents. Even in places without official or extended curfews, officials urge residents to stay off the roads.

Curfews are in place in portions of Coral Gables 7 p.m. Sunday through 7 a.m. Monday. Unlike other curfews in the county, the Coral Gables curfew only applies to areas covered by a mandatory evacuation order from the county targeting storm-surge-prone areas ahead of the hurricane. Regardless, Coral Gables and Miami-Dade County emergency managers have urged people to stay in their homes.

North Miami issued a curfew starting 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. Sunday, prohibiting people from traveling outside by car or foot, according to a statement from city manager Larry Spring, Jr.

Homestead issued a curfew on Saturday, excepting those with a “valid emergency purpose for being outside,” Homestead spokesperson Zackery Good said. The curfew was extended through 6 a.m. Monday.

"Issuing this curfew allows the City of Homestead and Homestead Police Department to adequately protect the safety of residents and property," he added. "The City of Homestead continues to monitor the progress of Hurricane Irma and urges all residents to remain cautious even though forecasts are improving.”

Key Biscayne issued a curfew starting 7 p.m. through 7 a.m. Sunday and is closing access until further notice, according to a statement.

North Miami Beach originally set a curfew until 8 a.m. Sunday, but it was extended through 11 a.m. due to storm conditions. Broward County’s curfew began 4 p.m. Saturday, which was extended through 10 a.m. Monday.

Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado told the Herald he planned to announce the city would impose a Saturday curfew starting at 7 p.m. Miami’s curfew is in effect through 7 a.m. Sunday, according to a tweet from the city.

“For your safety stay inside your homes or shelters,” the city said.

Miami Beach, which is under a mandatory evacuation order, will issue a curfew starting at 8 p.m. Saturday through 7 a.m. Sunday, according to a statement from the city. Essential services such as fire, police and hospital services are exempt from the curfew.

But Miami-Dade County is opting not to impose a curfew Saturday, Mayor Carlos Gimenez told reporters Saturday morning.

“We have police officers on the road at this time. We may experience some hurricane-strength winds,” he said. Curfews are usually put in place after a storm, “when you suffer a number of power outages, etc. I'm not going to second-guess what Broward County is doing. But that's not something I'm thinking of doing right now.”

Gimenez has faced criticism for the county's slow pace in opening shelters, and for logistical problems in staffing and operating them. Miami-Dade had 41 shelters open on Saturday, and 11 were full. About 26,000 people were listed as being inside in response to an unprecedented evacuation order that impacted more than 600,000 Miami-Dade residents.

At his Saturday briefing, Gimenez announced the county's lone shelter for people with special medical needs — whose location is only revealed to people who register in advance — was full. “If you have an emergency,” he said, “call 911.”

Even as he declined to order residents off of the roads as Irma is forecast to head for Florida's west coast instead of Miami, Gimenez warned against taking the storm lightly. He noted his home, in the Coconut Grove area, has already lost power and suffered a downed tree.

“There have been some rumors about Miami-Dade being in the clear and being safe from a hit by Hurricane Irma because we're no longer in the cone,” Gimenez said. “We must remain vigilant. A very serious storm is coming our way, and will be here through Sunday.”

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Miami, cautioned against deciding a different track from Irma will spare the region from dangerous winds.

“Don't be the guy killed by a tree,” he said.

Miami Herald staff writers Lance Dixon and Monique O. Madan contributed to this report.

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