Major changes made to Pinellas Co. evacuation zones

- Emergency managers in Pinellas County are asking residents to check their evacuation zones after stronger storm surge predictions changed the maps.

The updated predictions mean nearly 20,000 Pinellas County residents previously in non-evacuation zones will be moving into evacuation zones under the new maps. The changes also mean 10 county shelters could be in jeopardy during major storms that bring storm surge of up to 35 feet.

New evacuation maps are also the reason officials want residents to know their zone.

"We have more citizens going to a lower evacuation level meaning that if you were a level E or D before you're probably gonna be going sooner than you would before so you definitely want to recheck it," said Sally Bishop, Pinellas County's emergency management director.

Bishop also said the new storm surge predictions mean 10 of the counties shelters become vulnerable to storm surge at lower levels.

Pinellas Co. officials debuted a new mobile application called "Ready Pinellas" that will help people determine their evacuation zones based on location and keep them updated on current storm conditions and evacuation orders. The app is available in both Google and Apple app stores.

Officials in both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties urged people to start preparing for a storm now, as hurricane season has officially started. That includes stocking up on food, water, and other essentials, knowing evacuation routes and having a plan.

This weekend, June 2-4 hurricane supplies will be tax-free during the disaster preparedness sales tax holiday.

For a list of items subject to the tax holiday, visit http://fox13news.com/news/local-news/258278159-story.

For more information on Pinellas County's flood and evacuation zones, visit http://www.pinellascounty.org/flooding/maps.htm.

For information on flood and evacuation zones in other parts of Florida, visit http://www.floridadisaster.org/publicmapping/index.htm.

Visit http://www.myfoxhurricane.com/ for everything you need to know this hurricane season.

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