Evacuations begin ahead of ‘major’ hurricane

Pinellas County Commissioners declared a State of Local Emergency and issued mandatory evacuation orders Monday as Tropical Storm Idalia approached the Gulf of Mexico.

Forecasters anticipate Idalia becoming a hurricane later today. Pinellas and its municipalities are now under a hurricane and storm surge warning.

Local officials expect a “life-threatening storm surge” and tropical storm force winds to reach the area around 7 p.m. Tuesday and persist through Wednesday morning. The emergency declaration enables County Administrator Barry Burton to quickly approve expenditures and issue evacuation orders. Read more at

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