Tampa Bay area under Hurricane Watch and Tornado Watch from Eta; here’s what you need to know

Hurricane Eta

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Much of the area is under a Hurricane Watch due to Eta.

Hurricane Eta downgraded to a Tropical Storm Wednesday afternoon southwest of Tampa Bay in the Gulf of Mexico. It is expected to make landfall north of the Tampa Bay region Thursday.

The following counties are under a Tornado Watch until 5:00 p.m. Wednesday: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Hardee, DeSoto, Charlotte, Lee because of Hurricane Eta.

For the latest, visit our partner, FPREN.

Here’s more information from the National Weather Service:

A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for Polk
– A Hurricane Watch has been issued for Coastal Citrus, Coastal
Hernando, Coastal Hillsborough, Coastal Levy, Coastal Manatee,
Coastal Pasco, and Pinellas

– A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Inland Citrus, Inland
Hernando, Inland Hillsborough, Inland Levy, Inland Manatee,
Inland Pasco, Inland Sarasota, Polk, and Sumter
– A Tropical Storm Warning, Storm Surge Watch, and Hurricane
Watch are in effect for Coastal Citrus, Coastal Hernando,
Coastal Hillsborough, Coastal Levy, Coastal Manatee, Coastal
Pasco, and Pinellas
– A Tropical Storm Warning and Storm Surge Watch are in effect
for Coastal Charlotte, Coastal Lee, and Coastal Sarasota


Manatee County Emergency officials have issued a voluntary evacuation notice for residents of Anna Maria Island and other low-lying, flood-prone areas


Pinellas County Schools will be closed Thursday and will be on a Schedule Change Wednesday ahead of Hurricane Eta:

Hurricane Eta’s track further east will bring tropical storm force winds later today and into tomorrow. In an abundance of caution, ALL Pinellas County Schools will have early dismissal today, Wednesday, November 11 and will be closed tomorrow, Thursday, November 12.

Today’s dismissal times are as follows: -High Schools: 10:00 a.m. -Elementary Schools: 11:00 a.m. -Middle Schools: 12 noon

All extracurricular events and activities for today and tomorrow are cancelled. Also, meal distribution for Thursday, November 12 has been cancelled.

PCS continues to work closely with Pinellas County Emergency Management and will provide updates as needed. Please follow Pinellas County Schools communications for updates on the Pinellas County Schools web page and social media platforms.


The Herald-Tribune is reporting that Manatee County Schools will be closed Thursday and Friday

Pasco Schools have announced public schools will be closed Thursday. Here’s more:

Due to the potential for high winds from Hurricane Eta this afternoon, students and staff will be released early today (Wednesday). All after-school events and activities are canceled.

• Schools that normally release during the 2 o’clock hour (most high schools) will release at 11 a.m.
• Schools that normally release during the 3 o’clock hour (most middle schools) will release at noon.
• Schools that normally release at the 4 o’clock hour (most elementary schools) will release at 1 p.m.
• All district staff will be released by 2 p.m.

School is canceled on Thursday and all district offices are closed. PLACE and STAR Academy will also be closed on Thursday. All events and activities are canceled.

At this time, we expect school to be in session on Friday.


Citrus County Schools will be closed Thursday, November 12, 2020:

All Citrus County students will transition to remote learning Thursday, November 12, 2020. We will be implementing our distance learning plan. Our students will be using Canvas to complete their schoolwork.


Hurricane Watch is in effect for Hillsborough County; Hillsborough County Emergency Operations Center urges residents to make preparations now:

Hillsborough County, Fla. (Nov. 11, 2020) – Hillsborough County is now under a state of local emergency because of Hurricane Eta. No evacuations have been issued in Hillsborough County but the County will open five emergency storm shelters at 1 p.m. today for residents who are concerned for their safety.

The shelters are intended only for residents who are dependent on electricity for home medical needs, or who live in homes and manufactured housing that are susceptible to wind damage. Wherever possible, residents should consider other alternatives to a public shelter, such as staying with friends, family, or in a hotel.

The announcement is in response to a shift in the track and an intensification of Hurricane Eta. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Hillsborough County.

Now is the time for residents to finalize storm prep. Details on finalizing storm prep are listed below.

Public transportation to a shelter should be a last resort option. If residents need transportation to a Hillsborough County shelter, please call
(813) 272-5900 and arrangements will be made.

Shelter Information

These shelters are available for residents:
Steinbrenner High School (pet-friendly), 5575 W. Lutz Lake Fern Road
Burnett Middle School (pet-friendly), 1010 N. Kingsway Road
Middleton High School, 4801 N. 22nd St.
Reddick Elementary School, 325 West Lake Drive
Sickles High School (pet-friendly) and Family Shelter, 7950 Gunn Highway

Because of COVID-19, health screenings and temperature checks will be conducted at the door. Face coverings will be required to be worn while inside. In addition to face coverings and hand sanitizer, residents should bring only essential items including the following:

Special dietary foods
Baby supplies
Important paperwork.

Cards, books, and games can help pass the time, especially for young children.

Residents bringing pets to a pet-friendly shelter must bring a sturdy carrier for each pet that allows room for the pet to stand up and move around, proof of current rabies vaccination and license for dogs and cats, and pet supplies
including: food, water, litter, treats, cleaning supplies, and medications, etc. The pet must arrive on a leash or in a carrier.

EOC Status
Hillsborough County’s Emergency Operations Center has been activated since March 10 in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. County emergency officials and representatives of partner agencies are coordinating resources and operations to respond as necessary.

Actions Residents Should Take
Residents and visitors should continue to pay attention to weather forecasts and make decisions accordingly.
Finalize storm preparedness plans and disaster kit contents. Hillsborough County’s Disaster Preparedness Guide, accessed via HCFLGov.net/StaySafe, contains comprehensive information on how to prepare for any hazard.
Tropical storms can bring damaging winds and heavy rain even to areas that aren’t in a storm’s direct path. Finalize preparing your home by cleaning out gutters and drainpipes, trimming trees and hedges if needed, and securing or putting away loose objects such as outdoor furniture, birdbaths, and potted plants.
Know if you live in an evacuation zone. Visit HCFLGov.net/StaySafe for a link to Hillsborough County’s Hurricane Evacuation Assessment Tool (HEAT).
Register for HCFL Alert, Hillsborough County’s official public notification system for emergency and urgent alerts. To receive messages by email, phone, and text, go to HCFLGov.net/StaySafe.
Stay informed by following Hillsborough County on social media at Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor. Check HCFLGov.net/StaySafe regularly for updates.

Personal Safety
Avoid driving in high winds and heavy rains.
Don’t drive through moving or standing water. Water that is 2 feet deep can disable most vehicles.
Treat non-functioning traffic signals as a four-way stop.
Stay away from downed power lines and cables. Do not attempt to drive over or around lines; they may be live.
If power goes out, use flashlights and camping lights instead of candles.
Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed, or garage, even if doors and windows are open. Position generators outdoors far away from windows, doors, and vents. Read both the label on your generator and the owner’s manual and follow the instructions.
Avoid plugging emergency generators into electric outlets or hooking them directly to your home’s electrical system – they can feed electricity back into the power lines, putting you and line workers in danger.

Customer Call Center
Hillsborough County’s Customer Call Center will be open until 5 p.m. today.
The telephone number is (813) 272-5900.


Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) plans to suspend all bus routes, the TECO Line Streetcar and HART SMART AV service beginning at NOON, Wednesday November 11th in preparation for Tropical Storm Eta.


Pinellas County Board of Commissioners will hold an emergency meeting at 11 a.m. Wednesday
regarding Hurricane Eta

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners will hold an emergency
meeting today at 11 a.m. to consider a declaration of a State of Local
Emergency for Hurricane Eta. The meeting will be held at the Pinellas County
Cooperative Extension Center, Magnolia Room, 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo.
(Space is very limited due to COVID-19 social distancing; remote broadcast
at https://www.youtube.com/user/pcctv1).

The drive-through COVID-19 testing site at Tropicana Field will not open Wednesday due to anticipated high winds associated with Tropical Storm Eta.


On Twitter, the City of St. Petersburg announced sandbag availability:

The Pavement and Traffic Operations Building is the only location currently open

Sandbag stations up and running at two sites:
Northeast Park (Mangrove Golf Course)
Northwest Pool at JW Cate Rec Center

Sandbags are available to city residents at select locations

Sandbags limited to 10 bags per household. MUST provide proof of residence. #StPetePrepares


Hernando County announced self-serve sandbag availability:

In preparation for Tropical Storm Eta, a limited supply of sand and sandbags will be available today (11/11/2020) beginning at 10 a.m. at the following location. Please bring your own shovel.

Linda Pedersen Park
6300 Shoal Line Boulevard
Spring Hill, FL 34607

Tips on how to properly fill and stack your sandbags
Fill bags one-half to two-thirds of the way full
Over-filled bags will result in a leaky sandbag wall
Stack sandbags so that the seams between the bags are staggered
Tuck the top of each bag under to ensure that that bag is sealed by its own weight

This self-serve sandbag site will remain open until weather conditions begin to deteriorate.

Hernando County Government’s Office of Emergency Management continues to monitor and inform our community about storm impacts. Visit the following web and social media sites for more information.


Hernando County declares Local State of Emergency and issues emergency protective measures

Hernando County Emergency Management continues to monitor Tropical Storm Eta. Government leaders are assessing current and forecasted conditions to determine the need for additional emergency protective measures.
PROCLAMATION NO. 2020-08, Declaration of State of Local Emergency, has been enacted by the Hernando County Executive Policy Group.

This declaration provides Hernando County Government the authority to take action as needed to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our community.
This includes making emergency purchases, obtain additional resources, renting equipment, hiring workers, utilizing volunteers, etc. The Local State of Emergency will be in effect for seven days, or until rescinded.

Evacuation Orders and Public Shelter
Voluntary Evacuations have been issued for coastal zone A and mobile homes.
Residents are advised to seek safe shelter with family or friends that reside in a safe structure. If this is not a possibility, a public shelter will open at 2 p.m. today at the below address for residents in these areas. This shelter will serve as a general population, pet-friendly and special needs shelter location.

Hernando Mining Association Enrichment Center
800 John Gary Grubbs Boulevard
Brooksville, FL 34601
Google map

Sandbag Station
Sand and sandbags are available at Linda Pedersen Park, located at 6300 Shoal Line Boulevard near Hernando Beach beginning at 10 a.m. today. This self-serve sandbag site will remain open until weather conditions begin to deteriorate.
This is a self-serve sandbag site ONLY, please bring your own shovel.


Pasco County self-serve sandbag stations open

* Self-serve sandbag stations open, prepare for possible heavy rain, high wind

Pasco County’s Department of Emergency Management is closely monitoring Tropical Storm Eta and is urging you to be prepared for the possibility of heavy rain and wind in the coming days. Western Pasco County is under a Tropical Storm Watch until further notice, meaning tropical storm force winds are possible in the next 48 hours. Please store and secure loose items around your home and yard.

Pasco County now has four, self-serve sandbag stations open 24 hours to help protect your property from potential flooding. Sand and bags are available at the following locations:

– Pasco County Public Works (C-Barn): 30908 Warder Road, San Antonio
– Magnolia Valley Golf Course: 7223 Massachusetts Ave., New Port Richey
– Pasco Fire Rescue Station 17: 2951 Seven Springs Blvd., New Port Richey
– Veterans Memorial Park: 14333 Hicks Road, Hudson

*Note: Sandbag locations are open 24 hours to Pasco County residents; however, sand will only be restocked between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. You should bring a shovel and be prepared to fill your own sandbags.

Learn how to use sandbags effectively in this brief video:

Pasco County reminds you to double-check your Disaster Kit, and make sure you know your evacuation zone, which you can find in the Pasco County Disaster Preparedness Guide.


City of Pinellas Park Emergency Operations Center Active – Sandbags Available

The City of Pinellas Park has activated its Emergency Operation Center as Pinellas County is under a tropical storm watch due to Hurricane Storm Eta. The City is providing sandbags to Pinellas Park residents at three self serve locations which include:

Helen Howarth Equestrian area
Broderick Recreation Center
Pinebrook Park.

A premade sandbag location will be at Forbes Recreation Center.

All locations will be open Wednesday, November 11, 2020 from 8 am until dusk and proof of residency will be required.

OPENINGS AND CLOSURES : Pinellas Park Recreation Centers will be OPEN tomorrow for members at 7:30 am and will be operating within normal business hours. All Parks will be CLOSED today at noon through tomorrow.


Tampa International Airport will suspend operations at 3:00 p.m.

The region has experienced several Tornado Warnings throughout the day.


Governor Ron DeSantis has requested an Emergency Declaration for the parts of the state affected by Hurricane Eta.


Pinellas and Pasco Judicial Circuit Courthouses closed Thursday:

All courthouses in the Sixth Judicial Circuit, which comprises Pinellas and Pasco counties, will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 12. All hearings expected to be held via teleconferencing or Zoom are also cancelled tomorrow. However, advisories, along with juvenile detention and shelter hearings, will be held, at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow. They will be held at the County Justice Center in Clearwater, and the West Pasco Judicial Center in New Port Richey.


Listen to the 5:30 p.m. WMNF News headlines for 11 November 2020:

Listen to the 4:30 p.m. WMNF News headlines for 11 November 2020:

Listen to the 3:30 p.m. WMNF News headlines for 11 November 2020: