(CBS11) - In addition to concerns over the force of Hurricane Irma, officials in South Florida, much like they did along the Texas Coast, believe storm surge flooding could become a serious issue, collectively prompting people to take action.
With emptying store shelves, stocking up on water, along with other supplies and closing schools, people appear to be taking this seriously.
South Florida's weather is expected to begin deteriorating Saturday. Evacuations are expected to start Wednesday.
"It's not good for you; it's not good for the stress. You have to do it early," one man who was preparing for the storm said.
Hurricane hunters flew through the storm for the first time Monday as it strengthened over the Atlantic, according to CBS News.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Giménez said, "We'll know more as the week progresses what kind of threat it really poses."
In the meantime, Giménez is watching the storm closely.
"The storm surge is really the thing that kills most people, so that's what really we're worried about," he said.
Miami-Dade County averages about four feet above sea level, regularly fighting flooded streets during high tide.
Last month heavy rain forced cars to traverse flooded streets after anti-flood pumps failed during a power outage.
Back-up, portable generators have been ordered. But Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine warned that such pumps may not be sufficient.
"These pumps were designed for normal rain and of course sea level rise. They will be helpful in the event of a storm. But they're not designed for hurricanes," said Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.
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