Huge portions of South Florida were hit with mandatory evacuation orders late Wednesday as residents continued their panicked preparations for Hurricane Irma. With the “potentially catastrophic” Category 5 storm now expected to approach the area by Sunday, Miami-Dade County issued its first mandatory evacuation order in 12 years on Wednesday. Several other counties ordered residents out earlier this week, and thousands have already fled. While the storm’s path is still uncertain, the National Hurricane Center said late Wednesday that the “threat of direct hurricane impacts” in Florida has increased. The mass exodus of residents has led to major statewide gas shortages and panic buying at grocery stores, with residents reporting a lack of bottled water in some locations and hundreds of gas stations out of fuel. Gov. Rick Scott said he’d make it his “top priority” to restore gasoline supplies and urged residents to take only as much as they’d need.
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