In light of Tropical Storm Ian strengthening into Hurricane Ian and either brushing past or barreling into the Gulf Coast, Pinellas County schools will not open to students Sept. 27-28 (Tuesday and Wednesday).
Ian’s path remains unclear, but Pinellas County Emergency Management officials says to expect “major flooding and wind damage” in Pinellas.
In light of this possibility, the County will open its special needs shelters and two “general population” shelters Monday at 6 p.m. County officials say they will announce more sheltering and evacuation plans tomorrow (Sept. 26) at 10 a.m., including which additional shelters will open Tuesday, Sept. 27; The Gabber will have more explicit details at that time.
The County operates two special needs shelters for any residents, regardless of age, who have special needs, no transportation, or are elderly and and “require extra attention and preparation in order to stay protected in weather emergencies,” according to the Pinellas County website. Those residents who need transportation to a special needs shelter should pre-register as soon as possible. The County will not have help available once the storm gets closer to Pinellas (if it does.) Such residents can also call 727-464-4333.
The two special needs shelters are in Clearwater and St. Petersburg: Ross Norton Recreation Center (1426 S M.L.K. Jr Ave, Clearwater) and Lealman Exchange (5175 45th St. N., St. Petersburg).
The County has encouraged tourists to evacuate now, “as a precautionary measure,” officials wrote in a press release issued shortly after 5 p.m. this evening.
Pinellas County continues to operate its County Information Center. Reach the CIC at 727-464-4333. Hearing impaired accessibility: bit.ly/PinellasChat