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Tampa Bay counties issue local state of emergency ahead of expected impacts of Ian

The local declarations will help ensure the counties' emergency management can effectively handle preparation and response to the storm's impacts.

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — In advance of Tropical Storm Ian, which is forecast to become a hurricane and has the Tampa Bay area in its cone of uncertainty, Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas counties leaders have declared a local state of emergency.

This is in addition to Gov. Ron DeSantis' state of emergency declaration that was expanded statewide earlier Saturday.

A local state of emergency allows a county administrator and the sheriff to act quickly if they need to evacuate people, open shelters or clear away debris. Right now, no evacuation orders have been issued. Both counties are asking citizens to finish their preparations and know where their closest shelter is located.

Citrus, Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas counties have declared a local state of emergency in advance of Tropical Storm Ian.

Citrus County

A local state of emergency has been declared in Citrus County ahead of possible impacts from Hurricane Ian. The county will now be able to activate shelters and evacuations if needed in the days to come. 

"At this time, we are advising citizens to have a plan in place for if, and when Ian reaches Citrus County," the county said in a news release.

Citrus County is under a hurricane warning and a storm surge warning. The county expects to see some flooding with rainfall and is urging the public to prepare and take the appropriate steps to protect them and their property.

Hillsborough County

Hillsborough County administrator Bonnie Wise signed an executive order Saturday evening declaring a local state of emergency. The order will remain in effect through Sept. 30. 

"The emergency declaration gives the County Administrator and emergency managers the ability to quickly take certain actions to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the community, and provides a path for federal reimbursement of certain expenses," the county said in a news release.

Sandbag sites from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25.

  • Edward Medard Conservation Park - 6140 Turkey Creek Road, Plant City
  • E.G. Simmons Conservation Park - 2401 19th Ave. NW, Ruskin
  • Ed Radice Park - 14720 Ed Radice Dr., Tampa

More Tampa sites that will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m on Sept. 25.

  • Himes Avenue Complex - 4501 S. Himes Avenue, Tampa
  • Al Barnes Park - 2902 N. 32nd Street, Tampa
  • McFarlane Park - 1700 N. MacDill Ave., Tampa

Manatee County

Manatee County leaders met Saturday to determine the best next steps ahead of the storm and agreed to issue the local state of emergency. The county said its emergency operations center — which has been activated at level two since Friday — will continue to address staffing and resource needs in preparation for "higher-level" activation as the storm progresses.

"It’s important for the public to monitor the storm and prepare for a possible tropical storm impacting our area,” Public Safety Deputy Director Steve Litschauer said. “Timing, direction and intensity forecasts are pointing to significant impacts in our area."

During the meeting, Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes said declaring a local state of emergency would help county staff perform any emergency actions needed during the storm.

“Our crews are getting ready to help support our residents and visitors through this storm’s impact,” Dr. Hopes said in a statement. “Now is not the time to panic. But it is time to finalize your storm preparations.”

Sandbag distribution has begun at the following locations in Manatee County:

  • Bennett Park
  • Bradenton Area Convention Center
  • G.T. Bray Park
  • Manatee Beach
  • Myakka Community Center
  • Rubonia Community Center
  • Coquina Beach
  • Bayfront Park
  • Buffalo Creek Park

Manatee County said that while no shelters have been opened at this time, any residents with special needs should register here

The County’s Emergency Planning page provides updated information on emergency response and severe weather information with real-time updates.

Pinellas County

As the state of local emergency in Pinellas County has been declared, county leaders are asking the community to be prepared ahead of the impacts of Tropical Storm Ian.

At this time, people have not been asked to evacuate and schools have not been closed. However, the Board of Commissioners is in contact with school leaders.

"We made this motion today, but that doesn't mean that we're asking people to leave yet," Commissioner Kathleen Peters said. "We are asking them to get prepared. We are not closing schools yet."

In Pinellas County, shelters have not opened up, but the county is working to make sure 25 shelters are available in the event that they're needed. Three of the shelters will be for special needs including those with pets. Water and food stations have also been put in place in the event that it's needed.

Sandbag locations have been made available at the following locations. Click here for times and dates:

  • Lake Maggiore, 3601 Dr. MLK Jr. Street, St. Petersburg
  • Northeast Park, 875 62nd Avenue NE, St. Petersburg
  • Northwest Pool, 2331 60th Street N, St. Petersburg
  • Highlander Pool parking lot, 903 Michigan Blvd., Dunedin

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