Pinellas Co. commissioners declare local state of emergency in anticipation of Tropical Storm Elsa

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Pinellas County commissioners voted unanimously Sunday to declare a local state of emergency in anticipation of Tropical Storm Elsa.

Of particular concern to county leaders: flooding.

Tampa Bay has received so much rain as of late, the ground is saturated and any additional rain could prove to be problematic.

County commissioners held an emergency meeting on the Fourth of July to discuss the matter.

Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton says the county has already been in contact with some residents who could be at risk.

“We’ve been already messaging out some of the low-lying areas where we already know some of the residents have problems with flooding,” said Burton. “So we’re making sure we are telling them to take precautions.”

The local state of emergency simply gives county leaders more resources and the ability to buy supplies if the need arises. Governor Ron Desantis already ordered a state of emergency for more than a dozen counties including Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, Citrus and Pinellas.

Some residents are not taking any chances and are already filling up sandbags.

Tyler Thomas says his parents’ home flooded last year after Tropical Storm Eta.

“Our house got flooded just behind John’s Pass, we literally just got done finishing remodeling the entire house,” said Thomas. “Not taking that second chance again.”

Terrance Whitaker (L) and Tyler Thomas load sandbags at a Pinellas Park location.

Terrance Whitaker was also filling up sandbags for his mother.

“I’m just getting it for my mom. My mom’s really concerned, she’s very concerned about it,” said Whitaker. “She just doesn’t want to get the floors wet. Our floors got messed up last time… so she doesn’t want the floors to get ruined, house to get ruined again.”

Pinellas’ County Information Center (CIC) is currently staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily for residents with questions about the tropical storm. You can reach the CIC at 1-727-464-4333.

For the latest on Tropical Storm Elsa, download the free News Channel 8 app.

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