TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Polk County Emergency Operations Center held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to discuss updates involving Hurricane Ian.
Paul Womble, Emergency Management Director, spoke on the county’s preparations.
“Now is the time to finish all of your emergency protective actions before the storm, the real impacts get here,” he said.
Womble said the county started transporting those with special needs to specific special needs shelters Tuesday morning, though not as many people on the county’s registry requested to be picked up.
Thirteen shelters opened today to the general public, as well as three pet-friendly shelters.
“Everyone should plan on hunkering down wherever you’re seeking shelter… you could be there for a couple days,” Womble said.
Citrus Connection has pre-planned routes for people who need transportation in more populated areas until conditions are no longer safe, Womble said.
A reporter at the press conference asked Womble about heavy traffic seen on I-4 moving inland from Tampa Tuesday morning, and he said emergency officials “planned for and anticipated” it.
“We saw last night and we noticed this morning, the Florida Highway Patrol is here with us and we’ve talked with then about that. We’re prepared for that,” Womble said. “Part of our shelter strategy is to anticipate evacuees from the Tampa Bay region.”
Polk County does not have evacuation zones. The next update from the Emergency Operations Center will be at 4 p.m.