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Q&A: How evacuation zones are determined

Determining evacuation zones

Why would a home located on the west side of Fourth Street at 85th Avenue N (in St. Petersburg) be designated as an "A" flood zone while another home, located on the east side of Fourth Street at 79th Avenue N and closer to Tampa Bay, is in the "B" flood zone?

Evacuation levels in Pinellas County are labeled A, B, C, D and E and are based on the anticipated storm surge from a hurricane, according to the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council (TBRPC). The storm surge from a Category 1 hurricane (5-7 feet) is likely to have an impact only on those living in an A evacuation zone. Storm surge from a Category 2 (7-12 feet) would affect the A and B zones, Category 3 (12-15 feet) A, B and C zones, Category 4 (15-20 feet) A, B, C and D zones and Category 5 (20-24 feet) A, B, C, D and E zones. A good chunk of south-central Pinellas is a non-evacuation area, designated in white on the county evacuation maps.

We gave the addresses you provided to Betti Johnson, the principal planner for emergency management at the TBRPC, for further explanation. She said: "The parcels just to the east (of Fourth Street) are slightly higher in elevation than the parcels to the west.

"Pinellas County, in an effort not to over-evacuate, delineates the evacuation zone by parcel using detailed topography, the GIS (geographic information system) Department and the SLOSH (sea, lake and overland surges from hurricanes) model. If 20 percent of a parcel is inundated by the storm surge from the storm scenario, it is included in the evacuation level."

She also points out that the SLOSH model is updated regularly, and that all the zones in the region will be changing this year with new SLOSH Model enhancements and revisions.

A reminder: Flood evacuation levels are set by calculating storm surge danger. Your evacuation level has no impact on flood zones or flood insurance, which are set by FEMA and the National Flood Insurance program, respectively.

Adoption question on census

What is the purpose of the question on the census forms about an adopted child?

Adoption data are collected to inform the government of the diversity of U.S. families and to provide information to better effect government policies related to tax assistance to families with adopted children, programs that encourage adoption or programs that assist families who adopt children, according to Census Bureau officials.

Many of those programs and potential legislative actions are listed by the National Council for Adoption at www.adoptioncouncil.org/policy/fed_leg.html. The census provides the national-and state-level information to the council on the number of adopted children and the characteristics of those families who adopt children.

Q&A: How evacuation zones are determined 04/18/10 [Last modified: Saturday, April 17, 2010 2:40am]

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