Aug 28, 2023 - News

Tampa Bay evacuation orders in effect as Tropical Storm Idalia approaches

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Closures and evacuations for Tropical Storm Idalia started across Tampa Bay Monday afternoon.

Threat level: Idalia will bring a "life-threatening" storm surge into Florida's Big Bend area southward to Tampa Bay, Axios' Andrew Freedman reports.

  • The storm is expected to make landfall somewhere between Tampa and Tallahassee on Wednesday morning, but high winds and flooding are likely to begin in these areas as soon as Tuesday afternoon or evening.

What they're saying: Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference Monday afternoon, telling residents they only need to evacuate "tens of miles, rather than hundreds of miles," to avoid storm surge.

  • "Florida's got most of these structures, homes, hotels, stuff on the higher ground [that] are going to be able to withstand a major hurricane," he said.

Yes, but: "We will lose power. If you're power dependent, you must get to a location that can provide you power," warned state emergency management director Kevin Guthrie.

By the numbers: The state has 200,000 gallons of fuel on the way in case of interruptions in fuel supply, DeSantis said.

  • 5,5oo National Guard members will also be mobilized by the end of the day to help impacted areas, he said.

Evacuation orders: Pinellas, Manatee, Citrus, Hillsborough, Hernando and Pasco counties all ordered mandatory evacuations for Zone A and mobile home parks.

  • Sarasota County ordered Level A homes and barrier islands to be evacuated "out of an abundance of caution."

Airport closures: Tampa International Airport announced its plan to stop commercial flights and operations beginning just after midnight Tuesday. The airport is expected to reopen on Thursday morning following assessments of the damage after the storm passes.

  • St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport is closing for 24 hours starting at 3pm Tuesday.

Go deeper: Fox 13 has a roundup of where to get sandbags, and the Tampa Bay Times is tracking school closures.

Related: Newcomer's guide to hurricane prep: What to consider ahead of a storm

Editor's note: This is a developing story and will be updated.


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