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Evacuating Pinellas, Manatee & Sarasota Counties can be challenging, new study shows

Posted at 2:27 PM, Aug 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-29 08:05:18-04

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A new study found that evacuating from Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota counties during storms can be a challenge.

The study, from the transportation research company Streetlight Data, mapped out how difficult it can be to get off the coastline of those counties during tropical storms and hurricanes. Researchers found that Tampa Bay’s coastal communities have some of the most limited evacuation routes.

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One thing Pinellas County does do in a storm is change up traffic signals to allow cars leaving the coast to get out quicker, but with some communities only having two to three exits, it can get dicey.

Here's some of the areas the study analyzed:

Indian Rocks Beach
Population: 4113
Exits: 4
Main Exit Load: 52%

Tierra Verde
Population: 3721
Exits: 8
Main Exit Load: 79%

Treasure Island
Population: 6705
Exits: 4
Main Exit Load: 42%

Redington Shores
Population: 2121
Exits: 3
Main Exit Load: 62%

North Redington Beach
Population: 1417
Exits: 2
Main Exit Load: 52%

Anna Maria
Population: 1560
Exits: 4
Main Exit Load: 92%

Population: 4241
Exits: 5
Main Exit Load: 58%

Longboat Key
Population: 6888
Exits: 4
Main Exit Load: 57%

Siesta Key
Population: 6565
Exits: 3
Main Exit Load: 77%

Manasota Key
Population: 1229
Exits: 3
Main Exit Load: 87%

Pinellas County Emergency Management officials urge you to pay attention to evacuation orders and get out sooner rather than later. Most evacuation orders are given 17 to 44 hours before a storm hits.

To check out the full study map, click here.