Hurricane Irma: Miami Beach left a ghost town after thousands flee out of storm's path

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Miami Beach was left deserted after tourists and residents fled in anticipation of the largest storm to hit the Atlantic in a decade, Hurricane Irma.

A state of emergency has been declared in South Florida, where more than half million people have been ordered to evacuate ahead of the storm.  

Incredible images show white beaches deserted and streets that resemble film sets, with barely anyone left in the normally-thriving island city.

Roads have been empty, aside for the odd lone car, after thousands deserted in search of a safer place to weather out the storm.

Beach: The bins will be removed in preparation of the storm (Getty Images)

Images of blue, sunny skies above the city’s famous Art Deco architecture do not forewarn the damage and devastation to come.

But hurricane experts have said they expect Irma, which has already ravaged through the Caribbean, to hit Miami Beach and most of Florida state at the weekend. 

The National Hurricane Center on Thursday night issued hurricane warnings for the Keys and an area of the peninsula including metro Miami and Lake Okeechobee. 

Florida Gov. Rick Scott ordered all public schools, colleges and universities to close and told residents not to become complacent because the storm could have “major and life-threatening impacts from coast to coast.”

As people began preparations for the evacuation, hundreds were forced to line up for bottled water and people looped round in their cars hunting for a gas station that had not run out.

Miami: A lone runner jogs on the nearly-deserted beach (AFP/Getty Images)

Irma has ravaged a series of small islands in the northeast Caribbean, including Barbuda, Saint Martin and the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, ripping down trees and flattening homes and hospitals.

As of Friday morning, a total of 14 people are believed to have been killed in the storm.

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