PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — On Monday afternoon Pinellas County Emergency Management officials announced mandatory evacuations orders for residents living in Zone A, including all mobile homes effective Monday at 7 p.m.  

In St. Petersburg, sandbag sites were busy as residents who live in flood-prone areas, filled sandbags to protect their homes.

“I’ve got a little of a canal, the intercoastal, and then I have a pond in the back, so I have to get both sides of my home,” said Lowell Womack. “I also have a pump in case everything goes. So I’m a little over prepared. I’d rather have it and not need it.”

“My garage, I got some concerns, you know around my garage on a regular day, the water will get close, so I’m just being prepared for the inevitable,” said resident and city council member Brother John Muhammad, who was at a site, filling up the bags.

During a news briefing with Gov. Ron DeSantis, Pinellas County Emergency Management Director Cathie Perkins warned about the potential for life-threating storm surge since the area could get hit with 3 to 5 feet of storm surge.

“Wednesday morning at 2 a.m., there is going to be a Cat. 3 hurricane off the coast of Pinellas County, and that is going to bring life-threatening storm surge. All it takes is a little shift, and that storm is here,” said Perkins.

“I was pretty worried last year because it was supposed to be a direct hit and it turned Fort Myers, and so this year we don’t know what can happen, and I kind of, I mean I’m getting goosebumps, because it’s your lifestyle, it’s not just buildings, it’s why you live here. If everything gets destroyed, then your whole lifestyle is gone,” said Womack.

“We definitely want to continue to continue to pray, shake bones, rabbits feet, or you know. whatever you do to wish well, that we can continue to dodge those direct impacts we’ve seen in other parts of the state,” said Muhammad.