Posted: 2:49 pm Thursday, September 1st, 2016
By Ann Kelly
It’s official; Hermine is now a Category One hurricane, with sustained winds of 75 mph. The National Weather Service has also extended the Tropical Storm Warning into Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties. What that means is to finish up that storm prep NOW. We’re looking at sustained winds anywhere from 39 to 73 miles per hour with 36 hours. There is also a Tornado Watch up for Pinellas County, in addition to a large area of Florida, in addition to a substantial list from the National Weather Service. There’s new closures with all Hillsborough County schools, Pasco County schools, offices and PLACE closed Friday, along with Pinellas County schools and district offices. The Salvation Army however is open with extended hours for Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.
Governor Scott has also extended the state of emergency to 51 counties which does include us here in the Bay area. This is a good time to know your evacuation route per the Governor’s press conference earlier. And this list of emergency contacts is one you’ll want to keep handy.
Traffic is going to be a challenge. The Sunshine Sky has been shut down due to high winds, and Bayshore Blvd in Tampa is closed as well between Bay to Bay and Platt St. That’s just the short list; for more check in with our partners from 10 News. But please don’t try to drive through those areas just to try and save a few minutes. Just keep “turn around don’t drown” front and center for now.
We’ll also be dealing with possible power outages. Suzanne Grant from Duke Energy has some great advice on how to handle those. We have the outage maps from TECO and Duke for you. Make sure you down the TuneIn Radio app in case the power does go out, and stay with us for the latest on Facebook and Twitter, and at wduv.com.