HURRICANE IAN UPDATES (as of 9/28/22)
Latest storm/incident developments
• Pinellas County remains under a Hurricane Warning and Storm Surge Warning for Hurricane Ian.
• Hurricane Ian is expected to reach southwest Florida as a strong hurricane today and then move up the state. Residents should plan for persistent rain over 36 hours, flooding of low-lying areas, and the possibility of winds greater than 110 mph. Tornadoes are also possible. While Pinellas County Pinellas County is no longer likely to see the brunt of the storm, we are expected to receive 4 to 6 feet of storm surge and other serious impacts.
• Rainfall totals of 8 to 18 inches are expected through Friday, with some areas getting up to 30 inches. Low-lying areas of Pinellas County inland from the coast are expected to flood. Flooding is different from storm surge but can still be life-threatening.
Pinellas County response/action
• Pinellas County is urging residents to continue to shelter in place. Tropical force winds have already reached the Tampa Bay area as of Wednesday morning.
• Pinellas County's mandatory evacuation order for Evacuation Zones A, B, and C, including all mobile homes and manufactured homes, is still in effect. Residents who need to go to a public shelter can find locations at http://storm.pinellascounty.org. Once sustained winds have reached 40 mph, emergency responders will stay off the roads and will not be able to respond to most calls.
• The County also ordered mandatory evacuations of all health care facilities in Zones A, B and C, and those remain in effect.
• The Pinellas County Emergency Operations Center is at a Level 1, full 24/7 activation.
• The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has reopened access to the barrier islands with restrictions (residents and those with business interests only) and will reassess later today.
• Public Works has lowered Lake Seminole and Taylor Lake and is pumping water from Brooker Creek. The Southwest Water Management District has lowered Tarpon Lake.
Advice & Information for Residents
• If you remain home and use a generator or grill, make sure it is operated outdoors. Doing so in an enclosed space could cause carbon monoxide poisoning and a fire.
• Continue to monitor your trusted local news media sources, National Weather Service, www.pinellascounty.org, Facebook @PinellasCountyNews and Twitter @PinellasCoNews.
• Register for emergency alerts at http://www.pinellascounty.org/alertpinellas and download the new Ready Pinellas app in the App Store or Google Play store for real-time storm updates.
Specific Warning for Tarpon Woods Area
• At 11 a.m. Tuesday, the water level of Brooker Creek was 10.8 feet at USGS Gage 02307359. Roadway flooding will occur when the gage exceeds 12.0 feet.
• Heavy rainfall associated with Hurricane Ian is expected. National Hurricane Center is projecting several feet of storm surge in the area as well. The rainfall and storm surge coupled with high tides about 7 p.m. Wednesday night and 6 a.m. Thursday morning will likely cause extensive flooding in the area.
• Public Works staff has pre-staged pumps in anticipation of flooding. However, pumping will not be effective with the projected storm surge.
• Make sure to have your emergency plan in place. To prepare your home: move or elevate valuable items; place insurance documents in an easily accessible, waterproof location; and turn off power and gas. You may monitor the gage at on.doi.gov/3eus9z3.
• Pinellas County has opened 25 shelters throughout the county. Locations and capacity status can be found at http://storm.pinellascounty.org. Special needs and pet-friendly shelters can be located by using the dropdown menu.
• Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) has waived fares during the storm. Pets are permitted on evacuation buses as long as they are in a pet carrier. PSTA evacuation bus routes will end at 9 p.m. tonight. The latest information on PSTA bus service can be obtained by calling the InfoLine at 727-540-1900 or by visiting at https://psta.net/riding-psta/weather-alert.
• Rideshare service Uber has also announced free rides to and from public shelters up to $30 each way for those evacuating the storm. Enter code IANRELIEF and select the shelter where you are going.
Advice & Information for Business Owners & Employees
• The Florida Business Response Team, Emergency Support Function 18, recommends that businesses review the Business Re-Entry Procedures and ensure that employees have the required documentation before the storm’s arrival. The Florida Private Sector Hotline is activated to provide business assistance at 850-815-4925 and more information is available at FloridaDisaster.biz.
Marine Advice & Information
• Drawbridges are closed this and will remain closed through the storm. The U.S. Coast Guard is alerting boaters and recommends mariners monitor VHF-FM radio channel 16.
• Here is advise on how to secure your boat for a hurricane whether it is on a trailer, lift or in the water.
• The County Information Center is now open for 24 hours. Call 727-464-4333. Residents who are deaf or hard of hearing can contact the County Information Center via online chat at www.bit.ly/PinellasChat
• The State of Florida has suspended tolls on all major toll roads in the region.