- Updated evacuation zones for more than 48,000 people in the United States.
- Residents are encouraged to prepare early for hurricane season.
- President Biden warned that the country is likely to experience “another tough hurricane season” this year.
Officials in Florida’s Pinellas County updated the evacuation zones of nearly 48,000 homes this hurricane season and warned that some residents have gone from a lower risk to a higher risk of storm surge, according to FOX 13.
County Emergency Management updated risk areas and said the new evacuation zones are based on the latest storm surge data models from the National Hurricane Center, along with more precise information. Changes in risk level affect about 93,000 residents.
What areas are at greatest risk?
Officials have urged Pinellas residents to stay up to date on which areas are under evacuation orders. “We had about 66,000 people who have an increased risk and about 27,000 actually had a decreased risk. So that means they went from a higher zone to a lower zone,” said Cathie Perkins, Pinellas County Director of Emergency Management. She added, “We have about 4,700 people who were previously in a no-evacuation zone. They are now in an evacuation zone.”
Areas most at risk include Tarpon Springs and Gulfport, and neighborhoods on McKay’s Creek and Allen’s Creek. Perkins explained that the risk level change is happening now, so the National Hurricane Center updates its storm surge model based on county data.
Officials urge residents to prepare early for the hurricane season
“So we use all sorts of data. We look at a lot of different factors to kind of figure out where the risks are,” Perkins said. “And interestingly enough, when we had Tropical Storm Eta, the storm surge for that was actually very similar to one of the future models for sea level rise,” she said.
The National Weather Service in Tampa Bay said now is the time to stock up. “Right now, from what we kind of do see out there, kind of looks like maybe some potential for an above normal activity type of season,” said Tony Hurt, NWS meteorologist in Ruskin. “As far as the public and their interests and what they want to pay attention to, it’s a good thing to always keep an eye out on the tropics, check in on the weather at least a couple of times a week to make sure there’s nothing out there that’s threatening.”
Biden warns of “tough” hurricane season
For his part, President Joe Biden warned Wednesday that the United States may experience “another difficult hurricane season” this year, and pledged that his government will be prepared to respond to storms and help the population recover, reported AP.
“We know that hurricanes are coming our way. Every season they get more extreme,” Biden said before a briefing by top federal officials, including FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell and Housing and Development Secretary Urbano, Marcia Fudge. Biden urged the public to “pay attention to hurricane alerts and follow the recommendations of their local authorities.”
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