Florida Keys Begin Evacuation as Hurricane Ike Approaches

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) - Florida Keys officials began resident evacuations on the low-lying chain of islands in phases this morning.

Evacuations began in Key West at 8 a.m. and will continue throughout the day. Evacuations begin at noon for the Middle Keys, and at 4 p.m. for the Upper Keys, including Key Largo. Visitors were told to leave Saturday.

Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi says he understands it's inconvenient but safety is the priority.

Still, the streets of Key West were practically empty Sunday morning, but not because of the storm - the town stays up late and sleeps late.

Rick Van Leuven, the manager of the Rick's and Durty Harry's Entertainment Complex, says everyone is pretty much waiting until
Monday to see where the storm will go.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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