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Hillsborough County issues mandatory evacuation order for Zones A and B

Hillsborough County officials say they are expecting to see a "significant storm surge" in the area.

TAMPA, Fla. — Hillsborough County officials on Monday announced a mandatory evacuation order for all residents living within Zones A and B in advance of Hurricane Ian.

Leaders amended the voluntary evacuation for those living in Zone B on Tuesday. Zone B's evacuation order goes into effect at noon and is still active for Zone A. 

In a news conference, officials said they are expecting to see a "significant storm surge" in the area.

RELATED: Evacuation zones and storm surge maps for the Tampa Bay area

RELATED: FORECAST: Hurricane Ian expected to rapidly intensify

"This is not a drill, this is actual. We need to get out and prepare ourselves as well as prepare our families," Tampa Fire Rescue Chief Barbara Tripp said during the conference. 

Hillsborough County Administrator Bonnie Wise says residents could be stuck in shelters "for days" — they are, however, the last resort. For people able to travel farther inland, she added to seek shelter at least 20 miles in and away from coastal areas. 

Along with the evacuation order, shelters opened Monday at 2 p.m. Pets are not allowed at most shelters, but there are a few pet-friendly locations. You can find a shelter near you here.

For more information about preparing for Hurricane Ian, as well as where to find sandbags, head to this link.

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