Hurricane Season is here, and as always, we want to keep everyone in our community safe. In addition to our annual reminders about storm preparation, we have some important updates for you. I’ll start with those.
The first is that the evacuation zones have changed for nearly 48,000 Pinellas County households. Our Emergency Management department updated our map this year combining the latest storm surge data models from the National Hurricane Center with updated elevation data to better understand which areas are most vulnerable. Postcards have been sent to the affected households, but it’s still a good idea to check your evacuation zone at storm.pinellascounty.org. I’m sure you’re like me and have family and/or friends living in various parts of the county. It’s helpful to remind them that their evacuation zone is different from their flood zone. Anyone living in a manufactured home should evacuate if any evacuation is ordered.
My second update is that we will soon be releasing a new and improved Ready Pinellas app with access to real-time information during events. The link will be available at storm.pinellascounty.org when it’s live, as well as on the Apple App Store and Google Play store. It will feature all the information you need to know before, during and after hurricane season, including checklists and an inventory for your home. We also encourage you to sign up for Alert Pinellas. The service is free and allows you to receive urgent messages about a variety of situations such as severe weather, boil water notices, missing persons and evacuations.
Every year, we produce an All Hazards Preparation Guide. The guide provides detailed information about building an emergency kit, evacuation options, shelters, insurance, preparing for children, elderly or special needs family members, and our pets. It also includes how to protect your home, windows, yard, vehicles and boat before the storm and what to expect after the storm. Printed copies are available at Pinellas County offices, municipal buildings and libraries. You can also find it online at storm.pinellascounty.org,
Now is the time to review your current insurance policies and consider adding flood insurance. Anywhere it rains, it can flood. Having an insurance policy is a protective step everyone should consider, even if you don’t live in a high-risk flood zone. Typically, there is a 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase before a new flood policy goes into effect. Don’t get caught without flood insurance this hurricane season. You can learn more about flood insurance topics by visiting pinellascounty.org/flooding or by calling (727) 464-7700.
Here are some additional tips:
- Visit our website at pinellascounty.org/emergency for hurricane news and links to evacuation maps, shelter information and more.
- Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Nextdoor for updates throughout the storm.
- Tampa Bay’s trusted media will share reliable weather reporting and updates.
- During a major storm, our County Information Center will activate, and you can call it at (727) 464-4333.
As always, if you have questions or comments, feel free to contact me at 727-464-3363 or firstname.lastname@example.org.