Hurricane Irma: 10 Things to Know if You’re Staying in St. Pete

Update: Saturday, Sept 9 at 11:23am. 

NOAA has updated the Irma’s track to cross directly over Tampa Bay as a category 3.

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Pinellas County now has mandatory evacuations for Zones A and B. Check your zone here. Pinellas County wants all mobile home dwellers to evacuate, now. Officials are warning this is your last chance to leave.

Gov Scott: “If you have been ordered to be evacuated, leave now. Not tonight, right now. Once the storm hits, remember law enforcement can’t save you.

FEMA has created a website for debunking rumors. No, hotels do not have to take pets.

Images surfacing from Miami which is now experiencing the outer bands of Irma

Posted Friday, Sept 8

Irma is Coming Our Way!
As of today, NOAA is showing a slight shift in course putting Irma closer to St. Pete. Experts say we may experience wind gusts of up to 35 mph starting Saturday and of up to 74 mph when Irma passes through on Monday.

A State of Emergency has Already Been Declared for St. Pete
Mayor Rick Kriseman took a preemptive strike yesterday which provides special authority to take action in response to Hurricane Irma.

Price Gougers Put on Warning
The “State of Emergency” has also put into effect a local order against price gouging. It is now against city ordinance to charge more than the average retail price for any goods or services sold during the Emergency. (The average retail price is the price it sold for 90 days ago.) Report instances of gouging to the police non-emergency at 727-893-7780.

Zone Evacuation vs Leaving Florida
First, we should follow whatever instructions local and national officials tell us. However, evacuation of a zone does not always mean evacuation of the state. Seeking higher ground with friends or in a shelter can alleviate the gridlock that those having to leave the state are going to encounter.

Pets and Shelters
Publicly operated disaster shelters are required to accommodate pets as a condition of their reimbursement from the government. Hotels are not required to do so during a hurricane, despite rumors.

Trash & Recycling
Has been suspended for Monday September, 11.

Commercial WiFi will be Free
Internet provider Comcast is opening up more than 137,000 wifi hotspots to anyone who needs them, including non-customers.

Download the App Zello
As long as there is WiFi and devices are charged, this free walkie-talkie app lets users join channels and immediately send voice messages. Its group messaging capabilities is an effective means of communication in the event of an emergency.

Get Text Alerts From Local Gov
Sign up for Alert Pinellas, an emergency notification service. It is free to residents and will give you multiple ways to receive word if an urgent situation arises. All you have to do is register your contact information with Alert Pinellas and an automated message will be sent to alert you to local emergencies.

Water Storage
Use tupperware and old jars to store water, now. It’s not advised to drink the bathtub water, however, filling it for flushing toilets is useful if water service is lost.