Hurricane Irma: Power outages, downed trees across Pinellas Co.

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Pinellas County is taking a beating from Hurricane Irma. Nearly 21,000 people are in public shelters and at least 15,000 are without power as Irma pounds the Peninsula with punishing wind and rain.

Police and deputies have virtually stopped responding to calls for help and so have fire and EMS first responders except in the direst circumstances.

Firefighters did respond to a fire on Indian Shores and a public works crew braved the peak of the storm to restore power to an emergency generator at a special needs shelter in Dunedin Highland Middle School where sick and disabled evacuees have taken refuge.

Outside of the Pinellas Emergency Operations Center hurricane force winds are pummeling trees and vegetation while stop signs dance in the darkness.

The Public Safety Complex is an island of light in a sea of black due to power outages while blue and white flashes light up the horizon.

Even as the eye of the storm passes to the east Irma has not finished its work in Florida’s most densely populated county.

Hundreds of thousands of people have evacuated their homes on beaches and low lying areas and now await daylight to see what damage the storm has wrought.

St. Pete police said the Starlite Princess dinner cruise broke loose from its moorings and hit the Bayway Bridge. (St. Pete Police)

Power lines are down at major intersections like U.S. 19 and Tampa Road.  The county said these issues will be a top priority for Duke Energy and other personnel, but they’re not on the road yet.

Pinellas County emergency managers will hold a press conference at 10:30 to summarize what has happened throughout the night.

The most significant damage seen thus far was a knocked over gas station pump in North Remington Shores.

We’ve also learned in Clearwater, a tree fell down on Drew Street near Orangewood.

Clearwater police are also reporting power lines down on South Pegasus Avenue.

A driver was not injured after hitting standing water, losing control and crashing into a railing on US-19 near Sunset Point.

Source: Clearwater Police Department.

 

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