Tourists and locals are fleeing the Florida Keys and Caribbean islands as Hurricane Ike closes in today, CNN reports. Forecasters predict Ike will slam into the Turks and Caicos islands late today or early tomorrow with Category 3 winds near 115 mph and 9- to 12-foot-high waves. The storm is then expected to churn northwest on Monday, over the Keys and toward the Gulf of Mexico.
The British government has struggled to evacuate visitors to Turks and Caicos, and Gov. Charlie Crist declared a state of emergency in Florida. "We continue to watch with much concern the track of Hurricane Ike," Crist said. Forecasters say the storm will stay strong over the Gulf of Mexico's warm waters and strike anywhere between Texas and Alabama by mid-next week.