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Marco Island issued mandatory evacuations, but many residents have already left the island, said Dave Baer, assistant police chief. Joey Cranney/ Naples Daily News

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The City of Marco Island has issued a mandatory evacuation order effective immediately.

Due to the recent westward changes in Hurricane Irma’s forecasted track, Marco Island and all of Southwest Florida is in harm’s way. Major impact including destructive winds, life-threatening storm surge, flooding rains and possible tornadoes are predicted to occur Saturday and Sunday.

“The city issued a mandatory evacuation given the (storm’s) increasing westward track and associated increased impact,” said Dave Baer, Marco Island Police Department (MIPD) captain. “The city thought it was was in the best interests of its residents to do so.”

More: 5.6 million Floridians ordered to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Irma

More: Nearly half of Florida could be without electricity after Hurricane Irma

More: Hurricane Irma: Information on shelters, evacuations, boaters in Lee County

More: Hurricane Irma: Thousands flock to Collier evacuation shelters

▪ Get complete coverage of Hurricane Irma at naplesnews.com/hurricane

The city issued a voluntary evacuation on Tuesday, so many residents were already gone by Friday morning, Baer said; that’s helped keep the Jolley Bridge, one of only two ways off the island, from getting congested.

As for the people who are still in town, they should evacuate to a shelter as soon as possible.

“It’s unfortunate if people wait for mandatory evacuations because they put themselves in additional jeopardy,” Baer said. “It might be too late to book a flight to Georgia, but it’s not too late to go to a shelter.”

Related: Collier County to open eight hurricane shelters Friday afternoon

If you're worried about your pets: Collier County will make two additional hurricane shelters pet-friendly

More: 8 a.m.update: Sustained winds decrease to 150 mph, storm remains Category 4 

Collier County special needs shelters opened at 8 a.m. while all general population shelters open at 1 p.m. Friday.

The following Collier County shelters open at 1 p.m. Friday to the general public: 

  • Immokalee High School, 701 Immokalee Drive, Immokalee, FL34142 (no pets)
  • Immokalee Middle School, 401 N. Ninth St., Immokalee, FL 3142 (pets allowed)
  • Cypress Palm Middle School, 4255 18th Ave. NE, Naples, FL 34120 (pets allowed)
  • North Collier Regional Park, 15000 Livingston Road, Naples, FL 34109 (pets allowed, but the shelter is full due to preregistration and will not accept anyone who is not already registered)
  • Gulf Coast High School, 7878 Shark Way, Naples, FL 34119 (no pets)
  • Oak Ridge Middle School, 14975 Collier Blvd., Naples, FL 34119 (no pets)
  • Lely High School, 1 Lely High School Blvd., Naples, FL 34113 (no pets)

 Call 311 or 389-5000 for additional information. Only use 911 in an emergency.

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