As Rita heads towards the Florida Keys, authorities warn this storm is nothing to tangle with.
Early Monday all 40,000 residents were ordered to evacuate.
Craig Fugate, director of Florida Emergency Management, says, "We need the citizens of the Keys to understand the time is now, that tonight they are gonna run out of options."
Key West high school, a brand new giant concrete structure, rated to withstand a category 4 hurricane, has been chosen as the staging location for getting people out of here.
Helping prep the area for whatever Rita packs, construction workers are buttoning up Key West.
Rita is tracking through the strip of water between the Keys and Cuba, but the path, along with its ferocity, is in no way predictable, and even a glancing blow could bring a devastating nine-foot storm surge.
Once Rita passes through the Keys it's targeted to land in the Gulf later in the week, and with that comes the fear that it could come one step too close to Mississippi and New Orleans.