Pinellas County evacuation: 'Better safe than sorry'

Pinellas County has issued a mandatory evacuation for some residents in the county ahead of Hurricane Irma.

The evacuation order was for residents in Level A of the county and all mobile homes effective at 6 a.m. Friday.  Click or tap here to see the evacuation zones for Pinellas County.

According to county commissioners, the evacuation order was out of caution.

“Better to be safe than to be sorry,” said County Commission Chair Janet Long. “And we have decided to err on the side of caution and protect our citizens. 

"When people think about this storm, remember those folks in South Florida have already started evacuating and the highways are bumper to bumper traffic right now. So those of us in Pinellas County that want to leave the county are going to be faced with getting in the midst of all of that ongoing traffic and then you’ve got to be concerned with whether or not you’ll be able to get a sufficient enough of gasoline to get out of the state.”

Watch: An update from Pinellas County on the evacuation notice

You can find out if you’re in an evacuation zone by typing your address in the map below. If you’re on our mobile news app, tap here to see it

Below is what Pinellas County sent out as a release Thursday afternoon:

Pinellas County declares state of local emergency Mandatory evacuation orders start at 6 a.m. Friday; shelters to open at noon

-       Mandatory evacuations of all of Level A

-       All mobile home parks (countywide) included

-       Level A special needs transportation begins at noon

-       Additional evacuations up to Level C may be ordered to start on Saturday.

Levels B and C may leave at residents' choice prior to the order.

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners has declared a state of local emergency and authorized county officials to begin mandatory evacuations at 6 a.m. Friday for Level A and residents with special needs.  Level A includes coastal residents and those in low-lying areas, as well as all mobile homes in every part of the county.

Residents in these areas will have from 6 a.m., Friday, through 8 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10, to evacuate their homes.

Emergency shelters will open at noon on Friday. Open shelter locations will be as follows:

-       Tarpon Springs Middle School (501 N. Florida Ave., Tarpon Springs)

-       Palm Harbor University High School (1900 Omaha St., Palm Harbor)

-       Dunedin Highland Middle School (70 Patricia Ave., Dunedin)*

-       Oak Grove Middle School (1370 S. Belcher Road, Clearwater)*

-       Largo High School (410 Missouri Ave., Largo)

-       Gibbs High School (850 34th St. South, St. Petersburg)

-       John Hopkins Middle School (701 16th St. South, St. Petersburg)*

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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