"You need to leave now," Governor Scott told Floridians in evacuation zones during a press conference. "We'll quickly run out of good weather to evacuate."
He added, "There's no reason not to evacuate if you've been directed to do so. You need to go now," and later in the press conference, he got more emphatic. "This is a catastrophic storm that this state has never seen before. We can rebuild your house; we cannot rebuild your life or your family."
He said the that after tonight, there won't be any more fuel shipped into the state. For those who need to fill up their tanks, this might be a problem. CNN Money reported that "at least 40% of all gas stations" in Miami-Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach don't have any fuel as of Friday morning. At least one-third of the gas stations in Fort Myers-Naples and Tampa-St. Petersburg al ran out of gas.
Things are even more dire a few hours north in Gainesville. There 58% of gas stations were out of gas as of Friday morning.
Thousands of people—who were able to get gas—have already taken the governor's advice to leave. Northbound highways are packed as residents of the Miami area and the Florida Keys rush away from Hurricane Irma's path.
"The dramatic mass exodus from South Florida could turn into one of the largest evacuations in US history," CNN senior meteorologist Dave Hennen said.
The traffic has grown so bad that Gov. Scott authorized the use of shoulder lanes on highways. However, he hasn't made all Southbound lanes into Northbound lanes because they are still using them to bring in fuel and supplies.
“You don’t have to go a long way. You can go to a shelter in your county,” Scott said. “This storm is powerful and deadly. We are running out of time.”
As of Friday afternoon, police are driving through mandatory evacuation zones, begging families to leave. In some areas, police are driving around blasting evacuation warnings on their loudspeakers. It is their final plea to families who are trying to ride out the storm.