KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) -- Evacuation orders for the Florida Keys have expired, but with Hurricane Ike over Cuba, authorities say now is not the time for residents to try to return.
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center say Ike appears to be on a track to cross Cuba and move into the Gulf of Mexico by tomorrow night. While it may miss the Keys, forecasters warn that it's too early to tell where the storm might go once it reaches the Gulf.
Many Keys residents ignored the evacuation orders, which have led about 20,000 people to flee. Officials estimate about 25,000 residents stayed.
Some local businesses are complaining the evacuation came too soon. Bakery manager Deborah Dietrich says whether or not there ends up being any hurricane damage, "there's financial ruin."
Local officials say they don't regret ordering the evacuation. They say the expiration of the order means the safe time to get out has passed. Those who did not evacuate should stay inside during the storm and those who left should wait until it's passed to come back.