For thousands of people in Pinellas County, evacuation zones are changing. These new evacuation zones are already in effect, and some of your homes may now be marked at a higher risk level.
For anyone new to the area, your evacuation zone is basically a guideline assigned by the county to let you know when to evacuate your home based on information like potential storm surge height.
“We had about 66,000 people who have an increased risk, meaning they’ll have to evacuate earlier,” Cathie Perkins, the director of Emergency Management in Pinellas County, said. “We had about 23,000 people who had a decreased risk. Some of them may even have moved outside of an evacuation. So it’s very important for everyone to check and see if they’re in an evacuation zone to prepare for hurricane season.”
Perkins says it’s important to check for your home, specifically. Your neighbor who lives one or two streets over may have the same risk level from the previously marked zones, while your home may have changed.
Postcards have already gone out to let you know the evacuation zones have changed, but if you missed those, you are encouraged to look up your address online and find out your risk level, to start getting your emergency plan in place.
Emergency management leaders say it’s a lot easier to plan now than it will be when a hurricane or tropical storm is already here.