This is an important message from Pinellas County Emergency Management:
· National Hurricane Center has issued a Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane Watch for the approach of Hurricane Eta.
· Tropical storm force winds, storm surge and flooding are likely to impact the area tonight and Thursday.
· No evacuations have been ordered at this time.
Pinellas County response/action
· The Board of County Commissioners declared a Local State of Emergency for Hurricane Eta.
· The County Information Center is now open 24 hours for storm questions. Call 727-464-4333.
· Residents who are deaf or hard of hearing can contact the County Information Center via online chat at www.bit.ly/PinellasChat.
· The Emergency Operations Center is currently open 24 hours.
· Emergency responders will not be able to respond to calls once sustained winds have increased above 40 mph, which is expected to happen sometime this afternoon or evening.
· Pinellas County parks will be closed from noon today to noon Thursday.
· County buildings and offices will remain closed to the general public tomorrow, Thursday, to allow for the necessary post-storm operations and damage assessments.
· The Solid Waste Disposal Facility, Administration building and Household Electronics and Chemical Collection Center will be closed Thursday. For more information visit www.pinellascounty.org/solidwaste
· Pinellas County is not currently distributing sand bags. Residents should check with their local municipality for local sand bag sites.
· Note that sandbags can not protect against storm surge.
Emergency shelters will be open at noon today
· Ross Norton Recreation Complex (1426 S. Martin Luther King Jr Ave. Clearwater, FL 33756)
· Lealman Exchange (5175 45th St N, St. Petersburg, FL 33714)
· COVID-19 rapid testing will be available at both shelters. Hotels will be available for any COVID-19 positive residents seeking shelter.
· Masks will be required while inside the shelters. Masks, gloves and sanitizer will be available for residents at both shelters. Each shelter will afford 60 sq ft of space per household to enable safer social distancing.
· For more information and a map of open shelters visit https://www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/shelters.htm.
Advice & Information for Residents
· Low lying, coastal and barrier island residents are advised to prepare for localized flooding. Ensure your vehicle is on high ground and prepare your home early.
· Obtain masks, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
· Refill medications.
· Secure yard equipment and furniture. Take time to prepare your home. This is the first big windstorm of the season so there may be dead branches.
· Don't drive through standing water on the road.
· Assist neighbors with preparations.
· Find shelter inside safe structure.
· Remain sheltered through the duration of the storm.
· Close interior doors. Secure and brace external doors and windows.
· Use a weather alert radio for alerts during power outages.
· Use flashlights, battery-operated lanterns or chemical light sticks.
· Monitor local news media, National Weather Service, www.pinellascounty.org, Facebook @PinellasCountyNews and Twitter @PinellasCoNews, search hashtag #PCEta
· Register for emergency alerts at http://www.pinellascounty.org/alertpinellas