TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Several counties across the Tampa Bay area issued mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders as much of the area braced for high winds and storm surge as a result of now-Tropical Storm Ian.
The mandatory evacuation order issued for all Pinellas County residents living in Zone A, low-lying areas, and manufactured homes will be lifted Thursday effective at 9 a.m. County officials said the mandatory evacuation order for all zones will be lifted at that time.
Residents who evacuated due to the threat of hurricane Ian may return home using caution.
Manatee County officials lifted the mandatory evacuation orders which have been in effect since Tuesday as winds from Hurricane Ian died down. Emergency evacuation shelters are being closed and residents are being allowed to return to their homes.
However, things will not return to normal.
“This is not an all-clear,” Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes said. “There are still hazards out there. And you need to understand the danger.”
Hopes urged potential “disaster tourists” to stay home so crews and damage assessment teams can continue their restoration and recovery efforts.
Hillsborough County officials rescinded all orders of evacuation Thursday citing Tropical Storm Ian’s path away from the county.
After sheltering over 8,000 evacuees in 47 shelters, county administrators are preparing to conclude sheltering operations or transition shelter availability for evacuees who continue to need assistance.
Public officials urged residents returning home to drive with caution, pay attention to the roadway, not to drive through obstructions or standing water, and stay away from downed power lines.
Hernando County Emergency Management officials rescinded the mandatory evacuation orders issued on Sept. 29, for evacuation zones A, B, and C, coastal areas and low-lying areas, as well as manufactured homes county-wide.
Authorities urged residents to take caution when returning to their homes. Damage assessment crews continue to monitor neighborhoods in Hernando County.
The mandatory evacuation order for evacuation Zone A, which included all low-lying areas west of U.S. Highway 19 and some areas additional areas east of U.S. Highway 19, has been lifted as of 8 a.m. Thursday.
Officials urged residents to take precautions when returning home, saying the county may still experience flooding, fallen trees, and downed telephone poles/wires.
Pasco County officials lifted all mandatory evacuation orders Thursday. Authorities added that all shelters are closed.
A mandatory evacuation order was issued for residents in Levels A and B. The evacuation order also includes residents living on barrier islands, in mobile homes, and aboard vessels. Residents in Zone C were issued a voluntary evacuation notice.
This is a developing story. For the latest Max Defender 8 updates on hurricane Ian, click here.