County Emergency Management has directed all emergency service personnel and employees to evacuate together to return as quickly as possible to render aid and restore essential services.

“We have prepared for the worst case scenario, but continue to hope for the best,” said Marathon City Manager Chuck Lindsey. “Our staff will be moving slightly to stay out of the storm’s path so that our emergency responders remain safe and ready to respond as quickly as possible.

“At this point, with the information we have been given, we will not jeopardize the lives of our people; and after the storm passes we must be positioned to help those that have refused to leave.”

The refuges of last resort are now open for residents who failed to evacuate. They are located at Coral Shores High School, Marathon High School, Sugarloaf School and Key West High School. It is unstaffed, there are no amenities, and it will close as soon as the storm winds die down.

The City of Marathon’s sewer system has been shut down to preserve the integrity of the entire system.

The track of Hurricane Irma is expected to cross the islands somewhere between Key West and Marathon. Winds are forecast in excess of 110 mph, possibly as high as 150 mph. Wherever the eye passes, the area will experience up to 12 hours of hurricane-strength wind. Peak winds are forecast between midnight today (Saturday) until noon tomorrow (Sunday).

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