‘SEEK REFUGE IMMEDIATELY’: Kids, families remain behind as ‘Monster’ Hurricane Michael pounds into Florida; ‘Save the Children’ sends out emergency team

‘The time for evacuating along the coast has come and gone.’

On Wednesday morning, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said that it’s now too late for Florida’s Gulf Coast residents to evacuate. He urged everyone in the area to seek refuge immediately.

“First responders will not be able to come out in the middle of the storm. If you chose to stay in an evacuation zone, you must SEEK REFUGE IMMEDIATELY,” Scott wrote on Twitter.

AP reports that Hurricane Michael is considered to be “one of the most intense hurricanes ever to hit the U.S.” Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Brock Long echoed Scott’s statements and announced that “the window to evacuate has come to a close.”

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“Save the Children,” a non-profit organization that assists children in times of crisis, deployed an Emergency Response Team that are preparing to help kids and their families during and in the aftermath of the hurricane.

“With 22 counties under mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders, we hope people are able to safely return to their homes soon. But while children and families are displaced during this crisis, Save the Children will be there to help them recover,” the organization said.

Emily Hindle lies on the floor at an evacuation shelter set up at Rutherford High School, in advance of Hurricane Michael, which is expected to make landfall today, in Panama City Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

ABC6 reports that around 375,000 people were urged to evacuate 22 counties in Florida, but authorities said many people, including families with children, chose to stay behind. Diane Farris, 57, and her son walked to a nearby high school for shelter, but noticed people were crammed inside with little space for anyone else. Farris’ cellphone got wet on the walk over and she said she has no way to contact her daughter and grand baby.

“I’m worried about my daughter and grand baby. I don’t know where they are. You know, that’s hard.”

Anyone in the Florida area in need of assistance can locate a list of emergency shelters on the FloridaDisaster.org “Open Shelters” page.

The story continues to develop. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.

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[Feature Photo via AP]