MIAMI BEACH -- Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, speaking from his office at City Hill early Sunday morning despite the city being under a mandatory evacuation order due to Hurricane Irma, said he has been "watching everything closely," CBS Miami reports.
Levine said there were no reports of serious flooding at that time and that he was planning to make his way to the city's emergency operations center at Mt. Sinai Medical Center.
The mayor said he's thankful that so many residents were heeding the evacuation order, and left.
"I think because of the fact that we came out early, very aggressively, for the mandatory evacuation, it made a very big difference," he said. "For the last few days it's been somewhat of a ghost town, the causeways have been very open, so the people had the opportunity to leave, and I think our messaging was very consistent, very aggressive, and the town was barren, you literally couldn't see anyone on the streets in the last few days."
Levine said he was outside for a little bit and saw several trees down, but the worst was yet to come. As for the pumps to drain the rain and storm surge that is expected, Levine said they're out gunned by Mother Nature.
"Right now Sunset Harbor and those areas are not flooding as of yet. However we know that if the massive, massive rainfall comes, there are no pumps, there are no anything, that are a match for a hurricane let alone a hurricane of this magnitude," he said.
Levine said a curfew will be in effect for Sunday and Monday nights. Emergency crews and first responders will return to the city from the mainland once it's safe and begin clearing the roads.
"We haven't made a determination yet when we feel it will be safe to come back to Miami Beach. At this point, absolutely not. We want no one to attempt to come back to Miami Beach and no one to leave their homes," Levine said.