Rita is picking up speed, but is still a tropical storm. Forecasters expect Rita to become a hurricane later Tuesday morning.
Key West residents and visitors have been ordered to clear out of the entire chain of islands. Nervous residents clogged the only highway as they decided not to take chances on a Hurricane Katrina repeat.
Key West officials say about half of the city's residents have chosen to remain in the area.
In south Florida, Home Depots were packed as residents bought wood and other necessities, making preparations to ride out the storm.
Once Rita clears through the Florida Keys, she'll be picking up strength again in the Gulf of Mexico.
Gov. Jeb Bush says Rita could mean even higher prices at the gas pump. He says another impact on supply could shut down the ports for imported oil into the area.
“We’re concerned about gasoline supplies. We just, that's the new reality, particularly as Katrina's impacts have not been fully compensated yet. They've not fully rebuilt the capacity back up," added Gov. Bush.