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Mandatory evacuations begin across southern Florida as Hurricane Irma approaches.

Mandatory evacuations begin across southern Florida as Hurricane Irma approaches.

Florida as Hurricane

A long line of cars heading north near Key Largo Wednesday.

 Alan Diaz / AP

A long line of cars heading north near Key Largo Wednesday.

Officials in multiple Florida counties issued mandatory evacuation orders Wednesday, forcing thousands of residents to flee what Gov. Rick Scott described as a “powerful and deadly” storm.

Hurricane Irma, Scott warned, is bigger and potentially more destructive than Hurricane Andrew, a devastating storm that hit the state in 1992.

“It’s way bigger in size than Andrew,” Scott said Wednesday. “There’s nothing in its path to slow it down.”

A mandatory evacuation was set to begin Wednesday evening for all residents of the Florida Keys. Visitors were ordered to begin evacuating the Keys at sunrise.

Mandatory evacuations also began Wednesday in Miami-Dade County, where Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered people to leave coastal areas. In addition, he ordered all residents of mobile homes in the county to evacuate.

Earlier Wednesday, officials in Broward County, just north of Miami, also ordered people to leave areas along the coast.

— Jim Dalrymple II  Florida as Hurricane , via :buzzfeed

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