Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine described Hurricane Irma, which is on a track to slam into Florida this weekend, as a "nuclear hurricane" and urged all residents to get out as soon possible.
Levine used the nontechnical term to describe the Category 5 storm as it barreled through the Caribbean on Wednesday. An update from the National Hurricane Center at 11 p.m. Eastern said that Irma's maximum sustained winds remains at 185 miles per hour.
Speaking to CNN's Don Lemon, Levine acknoledged that a mandatory evacuation of Miami Beach would be starting Thursday afternoon, but he urged residents to start leaving sooner in order to avoid traffic jams.
"Whether you're a resident or a visitor, you need to get out, you need to be safe," he said. "This is a nuclear hurricane." He also commented on the forecasted path of the storm, noting that it was "very scary and serious."
Miami Beach does not have any shelters, Levine said, and he said people are being taken to shelters elsewhere in Miami-Dade County.