With Hurricane Irma currently off the coast of Haiti and the Dominican Republic and looming near the southern tip of Florida, will St. Petersburg, Florida, be evacuated?
Governor Rick Scott declared a statewide state of emergency on Monday, September 4, issuing Executive Order 17-235.
“While we do not yet know the exact path of Irma, major impacts to Florida are potentially possible and we cannot wait to take aggressive preparedness actions,” Scott told the media when announcing his decision. “I continue to urge all Floridians to remain vigilant, stay tuned into local weather alerts and have a disaster plan in place today.”
On Tuesday, September 5, Governor Scott reported that he had spoken with President Donald Trump, asking that he declare a pre-landfall emergency to free up necessary federal funds and resources. The White House announced Trump’s approval the same day.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has suspended his re-election efforts, St. Petersblog reports, to focus on preparations for Hurricane Irma’s potential impact.
“Everyone in St Pete, Pinellas County, and Florida should be watching this storm closely. All residents should also pay close attention to alerts and updates from emergency management officials,” Kriseman told the media. “Residents should prepare and have a plan, not panic. My entire city team is working around the clock to protect life and property.”
“That will be my singular focus for the duration of this event,” he added.
At this time, Pinellas County is not under an evacuation order. However, officials have urged all citizens to familiarize themselves with their evacuation routes as part of their preparations.
Evacuation routes for St. Petersburg and all of Pinellas County can be viewed in the image below or by clicking the following link to the Pinellas County office of Emergency Management.
In declaring the state of emergency, Governor Scott suspended toll collection indefinitely on Florida’s roads as of 5 p.m. Tuesday. He has also activated Florida’s National Guard, saying that all 6,000 members will be available by Friday morning to aid in evacuation, sheltering, and recovery.