A mandatory evacuation order is in place for some Palm Beach County residents, effective immediately, as Hurricane Matthew continues moving towards Florida.
The order is in effect for two groups: residents who live in mobile homes, flood-prone areas or homes with "substandard construction" and people who live in evacuation Zone B. That zone includes areas east of Country Club Drive, south of County Line Road and north of Indiantown Road; east of Alternate A1A, south of Indiantown Road and north of Frederick Small Road; and all barrier islands from Singer Island south to the county line.
About 150,000 Palm Beach residents are affected by the order, officials said. They opened five additional shelters in addition to the eight already available. (Thirteen of 15 possible shelters are open; West Gate Elementary School and Boca Raton High School are not open as shelters at this time.) Shelters are available for people with pets and with special health needs, in addition to general population shelters.
Officials said residents need to seek shelter by noon on Thursday; after that, high winds expected to begin around 1 p.m. will make getting to shelters difficult.
Officials also said they planned to lock drawbridges in the "down" position at 8 p.m. Wednesday night so residents of the Zone B area can get to the mainland. They also said that law enforcement officers and emergency services will not be available to respond to calls once wind speeds exceed 40 m.p.h.
Congresswoman Lois Frankel said officials do not anticipate problems with the Herbert Hoover Dike, but that they foresee significant beach erosion problems.
More information is available at the Palm Beach County emergency management website: http://discover.pbcgov.org/publicsafety/dem/Pages/default.aspx.