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Florida braces as Tropical Storm Idalia set to intensify into hurricane

Members of the Tampa Parks and Recreation Department help residents bag sand on Monday.
Members of the Tampa Parks and Recreation Department help residents bag sand on Monday. Chris O’Meara/AP

Evacuation orders have been announced for parts of Florida’s west coast ahead of Idalia.

The storm system is forecast to become a major Category 3 storm with as much as 9 feet of storm surge in some areas at landfall. 

Mandatory evacuations are in place for portions of Manatee and Pasco counties in the Tampa area.

In Hernando County, north of Tampa:

  • Mandatory evacuations for portions of the county go into effect Tuesday morning. 
  • Voluntary evacuations are currently in place
  • Shelters are scheduled to open at noon today. 

“If we get the 8 foot of storm, 9 foot of storm surge that is forecast, it is not going to bode well for the west coast of Hernando County,” Hernando County Emergency Management Director David DeCarlo said.

In Manatee County, south of Tampa:

  • Manatee County government will close at noon Monday, Acting Manatee County Administrator Charlie Bishop announced.
  • Transit will remain in operation until winds are above 45 miles per hour, he added. 
  • Significant storm surge is expected along the barrier islands and coastal communities, with the earliest arrival predicted for Tuesday, said Manatee County Public Safety Director Jodie Fiske.

In Pinellas County, west of Tampa:

  • Emergency officials ordered a mandatory evacuation of Zone A, including all mobile homes, effective 7 p.m. ET on Monday in anticipation of a “possible life-threatening storm surge” due to Idalia.
  • Those evacuating should go to a zone higher than Zone B, officials said.
  • The evacuation order also covers residential healthcare facilities, which went into effect at 1 p.m. on Monday
  • The latest shelter information is available at
  • Earlier local officials had declared a state of emergency.

In Taylor County, 50 miles south of Tallahassee:

  • The Taylor County Sheriff’s Office issued a mandatory evacuation order for all coastal residents on Monday. This includes mobile homes, travel trailers and sub-standard housing.
  • There will not be a county evacuation shelter, and all residents in the evacuation zone are encouraged to shelter outside of the county. 
  • “Once the storm passes there will be a host shelter for those with damage to their homes located at the Forest Capital Hall,” the statement from the office said. 
  •  Once sustained winds reach 45 miles per hour, first responders will not be able to respond or assist anyone until the event is over, the statement added.

In Sarasota County, north of Fort Myers:

  • Evacuation order for residents in the county’s “Level A” will be effective Tuesday, according to county officials. 
  • Public schools in Sarasota will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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