Brevard residents raise a toast against Irma on the way out

At least a handful of residents along the Brevard County coast chose to wait one more night before evacuating, so they could raise a toast against Hurricane Irma on the way out.

At a small ocean-side bar along Cocoa Beach Friday called the Sandbar, dozens of long-time residents of the barrier islands gathered for a “hurricane party”. Many drank the bar’s signature drink – also named the hurricane – while stepping out onto the beach one more time before the storm would start blowing in.

On Friday afternoon Brevard County enacted mandatory evacuations along the ocean-front in anticipation of the coming storm. Irma is expected to effect the area late Sunday into Monday bringing big waves and damaging winds.

Emergency officials warned residents throughout the week that the evacuations may be the difference between safety and danger when the storm starts.

If u stay on the barrier island and decide later that you want to go and the storm surge has already arrived, you’re not going to be able to do that,” said Emergency Management Director Kimberly Prosser. “It also makes it impossible for responders to reach you if you’re on the barrier islands and need assistance.”

Though many said they planned to leave before Saturday night, some at the oceanfront party and at homes along the island said they’d stick it out.