PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Officials from Pinellas County Government and the Sheriff’s Office are warning residents to shelter in place as Hurricane Elsa makes its way to Tampa Bay.
Pinellas County Emergency Management Director Cathie Perkins said that those in low-lying areas should find shelter with friends and family in safer areas or at a county shelter.
County officials said the following areas are particularly at risk for flooding:
- Bay Pointe
- Caladesi and Sherwood Forest RV Park Area
- Crystal Beach Area
- Downtown Gulfport Area
- John’s Pass Village area
- Mariners Cove Mobile Home Park
- Oldsmar (especially coastal areas)
- Riviera Bay Area
- Shore Acres Area
- Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks Area
- Tarpon Woods Subdivision Area
- Twin City Mobile Home Park Area
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office will limit access to the barrier island to residents, employees on the islands, and visitors staying in hotels or vacation rentals.
According to county officials, Pinellas County is under a Storm Surge Warning and Flood Watch. They said there are wind and rain impacts expected starting Tuesday evening overnight into Wednesday.
County officials encourage everyone in low-lying areas to get out of their homes in fear of storm surge and to stay with friends or family on higher land.
Pinellas County launched a new Storm Surge Flooding Risk map to show residents their risk from Hurricane Elsa.
In the event you don’t have friends or family to stay with, Pinellas County opened two shelters at 9 a.m. Tuesday for residents seeking emergency shelter from Hurricane Elsa.
Those two locations are the Lealman Exchange shelter (5175 45th St. N in St. Petersburg) and Ross Norton Recreation Center shelter (1426 S. Martin Luther King Jr Ave. in Clearwater).
The Ross Norton Recreation Center shelter will open to the general population. The Lealman Exchange shelter will open for the general population as well as those with pets and special needs.
Pinellas County Schools announced Monday that all district offices are closed Tuesday and Wednesday. That has the biggest impact with canceling summer programming including after-care/childcare programs and school-related activities.
“County Government buildings and parks are closed starting at 2:00 pm Tuesday and will be closed Wednesday,” said Barry Burton with the county.
Perkins, said they are not expecting Elsa to be as impactful with flooding as Eta was.
“The (storm surge) projections for Tropical Storm Eta were 4-6 feet,” she said. “We’re at 3-5 feet (with Elsa). Eta came in at high tide so there was that additional factor. (For Elsa) we don’t expect to have high tide when we see the surge coming in between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m..”
For the latest information, visit the Pinellas County Emergency Management website.