PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Mandatory evacuations are underway for people living in Level A in Pinellas County.
That includes residents living in mobile home parks, low-lying and coastal areas and people with special needs.
Melissa Edgecombe stopped by Boulevard Estates mobile home park in Clearwater to help her friend, Jesus Allen, pack and evacuate.
“It’s really terrible and I feel like this is my first time encountering something like this. I’m freaking out,” said Edgecombe.
Both are headed to stay with friends and family.
Allen is one of thousands of Pinellas County residents living in Level A who have been ordered to leave their homes ahead of Hurricane Irma.
Friday, fire and rescue crews went door-to-door at mobile home parks in Clearwater to make sure everyone had an evacuation plan.
“So you’ve got arrangements all made,” said Clearwater Fire and Rescue inspector, John Beebe, to one resident.
“You don’t need any shelter or any assistance? Good luck,” he said.
School buses were on standby to take those in need of a place to a shelter.
Crews said half the residents decided to stay.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said he hopes they reconsider.
“If a Category 5, maybe a Category 4 and an 185 mph windstorm doesn’t get your attention, nothing is going too,” said Gualtieri. “What I will say is, I get it. Sometimes people feel like they’re safe, but I don’t think they’ve ever experienced anything like this before. Now, when it gets up here, hopefully it won’t be a 4, more of a 3, but still it’s going to be a very powerful storm.”
HURRICANE IRMA COVERAGE –
- The latest on Hurricane Irma from Storm Team 8
- 2017 Hurricane Guide
- Emergency shelters opening across Tampa Bay area ahead of Hurricane Irma
- Pinellas Co. evacuation info
- Pasco Co. evacuation info
- Hurricane Irma causing flight cancellations, airport closures in Tampa Bay area, Florida
- CHECKLIST: Disaster supply list for hurricane
- Where to get sandbags in the Tampa Bay area
- How to get water even if the stores are out
- The one thing you must do for your pet as Irma approaches