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Counties across the Tampa area order mandatory hurricane evacuations

Hillsborough Evacuation Zones
Screenshot from Hillsborough County website

Mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders rippled through counties in the greater Tampa Bay region on Monday.

Last updated: Monday, Sept. 26 at 6:04 p.m.

This webpage will be updated with hurricane evacuation announcements for the greater Tampa Bay region as information becomes available.

Click here to find your evacuation zone. In counties where mandatory evacuations have been issued, emergency shelters are also open.

READ MORE: Follow our Hurricane Ian live blog for the latest

Hillsborough County

Hillsborough County officials ordered mandatory evacuation for around 300,000 residents ahead of the intensifying hurricane. As of 5 a.m. Monday, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said that Ian had reached Category 1 hurricane status.

Effective at 2 p.m. on Monday, residents living in Zone A are under mandatory hurricane evacuation. As of Tuesday at noon, the county issued a mandatory evacuation order for residents in Zone B.

Emergency shelters are now available to county residents.

Hillsborough County Emergency Management Director Tim Dudley said the region is bracing for Category 3 hurricane winds, rain and flooding — with some estimates showing as much as 15 feet of storm surge.

"As it stands now, we are expecting 30 hours of tropical storm force winds," he said, calling Hurricane Ian "the real deal" and imploring residents to take the storm seriously.

He recommends that residents seek shelter with family, friends or coworkers who live farther inland, first – before seeking a county emergency shelter.

“They’re not a comfortable place,” he said. “But they will be a safe place for those who do not have anywhere to go.”

Acting early can help ease the backlog of evacuation routes.

County Administrator Bonnie Wise urged residents: “Do not wait. Time is of the essence. Act now.”

Reiterated by county sheriff, Chad Chronister, emergency hurricane procedures are only as effective as the buy-in from community members.

“Heed the warning,” he said.

Find updates on the hurricane in Hillsborough County at HCFLGov.net/StaySafe or text "Stay Safe" to 888777.

Here's an update on other evacuation orders around the greater Tampa Bay region:

Pinellas County: Officials issued mandatory evacuation for Zone A residents, effective at 6 p.m. on Monday. Mandatory evacuations for Zone B and Zone C residents follow, beginning Tuesday morning at 7 a.m.

All residential healthcare facilities will also be evacuated, according to a tweet by Pinellas County.

Manatee County: Officials have expanded the mandatory evacuation order to include both Level A and Level B. Additionally, residents living in evacuation Level C are encouraged to find shelter further inland.

Pasco County: Late Monday, officials announced mandatory and voluntary evacuations for residents in Zones A, B and C.

Mandatory evacuations, for Zone A, include primarily low-lying and coastal areas. Those in Zone B and Zone C are encouraged to evacuate if they are registered as a special needs resident with Pasco County or if they "would be vulnerable in the event of a power loss."

Emergency hurricane shelters will open at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

Hernando County: Mandatory evacuations went into effect Tuesday morning impacting more than 2,000 residents west of US 19.

"That's mainly because of the surge potential in those areas and the water that's going to be coming up to the ground level homes, and then also the river overtopping its peaks there, and then also the roadways are going to be overcome with water there,” said Jeff Rogers, county administrator.

“Those roadways will be inaccessible to people that live out there in these coastal areas — would not be accessible 'til that water recedes. So that could be 24 hours, 36 hours or something after the storm event.”

Rogers said Hernando is expecting a threat of between 8-10 feet of storm surge.

Sarasota County: Level A evacuations are in effect, which includes barrier islands, mobile homes and those living on vessels. General population evacuation centers will open at noon Tuesday.

Polk County: Polk County has declared a state of local emergency, but no evacuation orders have been issued.

WUSF staff writer Jessica Meszaros contributed to this report.

I tell stories about living paycheck to paycheck for public radio at WUSF News. I’m also a corps member of Report For America, a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms.
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