CLEARWATER (FOX 13) - Emergency officials in Pinellas County have decided to expand the evacuation of coastal areas and mobile homes ahead of Hurricane Irma.
Saturday morning, county officials issued a mandatory evacuation for residents living in Zone B. There was already a mandatory evacuation for Level A, along with all mobile home residents, regardless of evacuation levels.
LINK: Find your evacuation zone (county site may be slow)
The county says the following emergency shelters will open at noon on Friday:
-Tarpon Springs Middle School (501 N. Florida Ave., Tarpon Springs)
-Palm Harbor University High School (1900 Omaha St., Palm Harbor)
-Dunedin Highland Middle School (70 Patricia Ave., Dunedin)*
-Oak Grove Middle School (1370 S. Belcher Road, Clearwater)*
-Largo High School (410 Missouri Ave., Largo)
-Gibbs High School (850 34th St. South, St. Petersburg)
-John Hopkins Middle School (701 16th St. South, St. Petersburg)*
*Special Needs/Pet-Friendly Shelter
The county says, based on the latest weather projections, access to enter barrier islands in Pinellas County will be shut down at 6 a.m. on Sunday. This applies to all individuals and businesses, and includes all barrier islands from the Dunedin Causeway to Tierra Verde. Individuals exiting the barrier islands will not be restricted.
As of Saturday afternoon, Category 4 Irma had weakened as it brushed the northern coast of Cuba. But it's still expected to regain strength before pushing up the west coast of Florida late Sunday.