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Evacuation zones and storm surge maps for the Tampa Bay area

Know where you're supposed to go if an evacuation order is issued for your community.
Credit: AP
This Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, GOES East satellite image provided by NASA taken at 20:30 UTC, shows the eye of Hurricane Maria as it nears Dominica. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Monday evening that Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter planes found that Maria had strengthened into a storm with 160 mph (260 kph) winds. (NASA via AP)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — If an evacuation order is issued for your area or storm surge is threatening to flood the Tampa Bay region, do you know which zone you're inside and where you're supposed to go?

The Florida Division of Emergency Management has a map for each county posted on its website, showing generalized evacuation zones and accessible routes.

Remember, these maps are posted as a reference. Any specific evacuation order is issued by local emergency managers.

Find the nearest shelter to you: Click here

The two biggest evacuation routes, if necessary, are Interstate 75 north to the Georgia state line and I-4 east into Orlando. In some extreme evacuation situations, the highways will go into "contraflow," meaning traffic in all lanes moves in the same direction.

Evacuation Zone Maps

Storm surge is historically the most dangerous aspect of a major hurricane. A storm's strong winds can cause water from the ocean to crash against an area's shoreline, causing water levels to increase by 30 feet in major storms and bring about inland flooding. 

"You are taking the ocean and raising it," storm surge expert Hal Needham, the director of Marine Weather and Climate in Miami, told The Associated Press. "It’s not a wave the surfer rides. It’s actually raising the ocean. That’s why it’s so scary."

The following maps show which parts of a county could potentially be flooded with storm surge.

Storm Surge Maps

Interactive map

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