TAMPA BAY (WFLA) — The Coast Guard has shut down Port Tampa Bay, Port Manatee and Port St. Pete ahead of Hurricane Irma.
On Saturday, the United States Coast Guard ordered the three ports to Port Condition ZULU, which is the highest pre-storm port condition. It is issued when sustained gale force winds are expected within 12 hours.
Ports are now closed to all vessel traffic and operations have been shut down. Staff members at Port Tampa Bay are still working on securing facilities, but will
Staff members at Port Tampa Bay are still working on securing facilities, but will leave by the afternoon or early evening. There is a group of security and operation staff that has volunteered to stay behind and monitor the port.
According to Port Tampa Bay, drawbridges in the area may close as early as eight hours before dangerous weather conditions hit. That could be during an evacuation. During a lockdown, bridges are closed and power is turned off.
The Florida Highway Patrol is still escorting tanker trucks filled with gas to the Tampa Bay area. The trucks unloaded Friday at Port Tampa Bay.
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