Visitors Urged To Leave Florida Keys Ahead Of Fay

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Some tourists are beginning to leave the Florida Keys ahead of Tropical Storm Fay, which could strengthen into a hurricane.

Officials have ordered a mandatory evacuation for visitors because traffic can back up for miles on the single highway to Florida’s mainland.

Besides the threat of damage from high winds, there’s also the threat of flooding. Most of the islands sit at sea level and could be swamped by a storm surge

The National Hurricane Center in Miami has issued a hurricane watch for the Keys, as Fay picks up some momentum on its way to Cuba.

At 8 a.m. Eastern time, Fay’s center was located about 400 miles southeast of Key West and moving west-northwest at 13 miles per hour. The storm had maximum sustained winds near 50 miles per hour with some gusting.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist has declared a state of emergency.