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Traffic jams were already forming early Tuesday morning in parts of Florida, as millions of evacuated residents flooded back into and through the state in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Eastbound Interstate 95 in Miami was backed up in all three lanes at sunrise with residents seeking to return to Miami Beach when officials would re-open access at 8 a.m.

Congestion was also being reported southbound at the interchange in Wildwood in Central Florida, where Florida’s Turnpike merges with Interstate 75. It’s one of the most troublesome bottlenecks in the state even on a good day

By 8:30 a.m., traffic appeared to be free-flowing on other areas of the state’s major interstates and highways: Interstates 95, 75, 10 and 4 and the Florida Turnpike.

However, that’s likely to change fast as people wake up and get on the road.

Many evacuees fled long distances from their homes, some even out of state to places like Georgia and Alabama. That means traffic jams are likely to surface on almost all major routes back southward, even in areas that usually aren’t congested.

Expect worse than normal delays at the Wildwood interchange. Drivers were plagued with long delays there late last week as they fled north. Now it’s happening in reverse.

Other parts of southbound I-75, I-95 and the Turnpike might also be slow-moving as the day wears on.

Traffic rolls at a crawl on the northbound lanes of Florida’s Turnpike near the intersection of I-75 in Wildwood, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017 as motorists evacuated for the anticipated arrival of Hurricane Irma. Such traffic jams are expected Tuesday on southbound lanes as residents return.
Stephen M. Dowell AP

Drivers are advised to check with their local communities and — the state’s source for real-time traffic conditions — before getting on the road. Reports of road and bridge closures are also available online from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

U.S. 1 into the Keys remained closed to traffic because of the extent of the damage to the islands. But Monroe County said residents and business owners from the Upper Keys — including Key Largo, Tavernier and Islamorada — would be allowed to return starting early Tuesday.

The county said the Florida Department of Transportation had inspected all of the bridges along U.S. 1 and all of them are safe through Mile Marker 16. Crews will continue safety checks on the remaining bridges in coming days.

Road and bridge closures were also reported in St. Johns County in northeast Florida, which saw unprecedented flooding on Monday from Irma’s rains and storm surge.

Flooding was still forcing roads to close in certain pockets of the state, as of late Monday and early Tuesday.

Information presented at a Monday evening briefing at the state Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee — which reporters were again barred from — indicated continued closures on portions of Interstate 95 in Duval County and areas of I-95 and I-75 in Miami-Dade County due to flooding or debris. It’s unclear if those closures remained in effect by Tuesday morning.

Gov. Rick Scott tweeted early Tuesday, “by [Monday] afternoon, every interstate and turnpike was open for Floridians. Continue to listen to local officials on when to return home.”

Drivers should be prepared: Fuel will likely be hard to find.

There was a run on fuel before the storm, and there will be afterward — driven by the demands of evacuees returning, vast power outages statewide forcing the use of gas-powered generators and drivers desiring to keep their tanks full during the shortage.

Check GasBuddy, which offers a tracker on which gas stations have fuel.

According to the state’s Turnpike website, the Turkey Point, Canoe Creek, Fort Pierce, Snapper Creek and Pompano Beach service plazas have gas. Canoe Creek and Pompano Beach don’t have diesel fuel yet. Social media reports that the West Palm Beach service plaza also has gas.

Scott has reiterated the state is working to get fuel transported from ports in Tampa and Fort Lauderdale. Tankers would continue to get escorts by the Florida Highway Patrol, he said.

All of Florida’s seaports, except for Port Pensacola, remained closed — including Port Everglades and Port Tampa Bay, according to information presented at a Monday evening briefing at the state Emergency Operations Center.

Port Everglades and Port Tampa Bay are the state’s main sources for fuel distribution, but Scott has said there was fuel in port prior to the storm, which is now being unloaded and delivered to gas stations around the state.

“We are working around the clock to resupply fuel to Florida,” he said in a tweet Monday evening.

State and local leaders were urging Florida residents not to drive home on Monday, because emergency response and transportation officials were still cleaning up debris, repairing downed power lines and checking the safety of roads and bridges.

“Don’t think just because this thing passed you can run home,” Gov. Rick Scott said at a Monday afternoon briefing in Opa-locka. “We’ve got downed power lines across the state. Roads that are impassable all over this state. We have debris all over this state.

“If you don’t need to be on the roads, don’t get out,” Scott urged residents.

However, residents were already taking to the roads by Monday afternoon and into the evening, as traffic jams surfaced on parts of westbound I-4 out of Orlando into Tampa and southbound on areas of I-75, I-95 and the Turnpike.