Pinellas County evacuation zones changing

Posted at 5:01 AM, Jun 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-01 17:06:15-04

New evacuation zones may impact people living in Pinellas County. June 1 marks the first day of hurricane season and the county is reminding everyone to check their zone.

"I currently live in the white area so I'm not in a zone," said Alan Agoado, who lives in Palm Harbor. His home there is safe, but his vacation rentals would be the first to evacuate.

Pinellas County says even if folks are familiar with their zone, they should check again - new technology has changed the map this year.

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"The top of our search range in the old study was 8 feet and now it is up to 11 feet. And our worst-case scenario storm surge in the past study was 29 feet and now it is 35 feet," said Sally Bishop, the Director of Emergency Management in Pinellas County.

The new map calculates evacuation zones property by property - and determines the exact depth of water that property may get. Bishop says the main goal of the map is keeping people safe and alive.

"It's a way to be able to provide it to citizens that is very personal to them because we think it's important that they take this personally."

Agoado says he pays attention to the maps and monitors a hurricanes track - he says the new water depth measurement could be helpful ahead of a storm.

"Somebody that has a one story house, they know they've got to get all of their valuables or their personal belongings and they really don't want to lose out of that house and get to wherever they need to be," said Agoado.

Something to keep in mind - people living in mobile homes or on barrier islands will always have to evacuate once evacuations are issued.

The County allows you to search by a specific address and will give you surge levels based on that.