Pinellas To Close Borders Temporarily After Storm

Sep 11, 2017

Even before the bands of Hurricane Irma swept through Pinellas County, emergency officials were preparing for the aftermath.

They told people who've left the county not to rush back as soon as the storm has passed - because they won't be allowed back in.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said, in addition to shutting down the bridges into Pinellas, the surface roads in from Pasco and Hillsborough County will be closed as well.

"We'll have deputies there, they'll be blocking (those roads) off, there'll be checkpoints there and if somebody has a need because they're part of recovery efforts or they have an operational need or medical provider or something, then of course, we'll let them in, but other than that, people are going to need to stay out," he said.

Pinellas County deputies, along with Pinellas law enforcement agencies, were pulled off the roads when winds reached a sustained speed of 40 mph.

Gualtieri says the sooner deputies get back on the road, the sooner they can check out the roads and get people back to their homes.

"I think we'll able to give everybody a really good idea as to where we are, what we anticipate and whether we're going to have to do what we have planned out, which is to seal it off, do a debris clean-up and make sure the roads are safe and all," Gualtieri said. "If it's a situation where we don't have to do that, that's my goal, so we're going to take a quick look and we'll get information as quickly as we possibly can so they can make decisions, getting out of where they are and getting home."