Thursday, June 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Hurricane Irma: State preparing Tampa Bay interstates for evacuations

The Florida Department of Transportation on Thursday announced some important measures being taken for Tampa Bay residents trying to leave the area because of Hurricane Irma.

EVACUATION MAPS: Find evacuation maps for Hillsborough, Hernando, Pasco and Pinellas.

• First, most lane closures and detours have been suspended to allow traffic to flow more freely, said DOT spokesman David Botello.

• Officials are also addressing one of the biggest bottlenecks in the region: the Interstate 75 construction in Pasco County.

LIVE BLOG: The latest on Hurricane Irma

Officials on Thursday morning opened a third lane along the shoulder for northbound traffic. That third lane stretches just south of State Road 50 in Hernando County, Botello said.

"This added lane in Pasco will certainly help evacuees heading north," he said.

• There are currently no plans to reverse southbound lanes on area interstates to provide more capacity for those evacuating north, said Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins.

HURRICANE IRMA: Pinellas orders mandatory evacuations for mobile home, Level A residents

LOCAL EVACUATIONS: What you need to know

Some construction workers are still on the roads trying to get the area "storm ready," but their work does not involve closures, Botello said. Those measures include clearing debris that could clog drains, removing drums and barricades and taking extra erosion-control measures.

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is currently open to all traffic, but would close in event of 40 mph winds or greater. There is no wind restriction on other area bridges, like the Howard Frankland or the Gandy, Gaskins said. Any potential closures of those bridges would be decided by the FHP based on weather conditions.

While DOT has taken local measures, those evacuating the Tampa Bay region will face bottlenecks elsewhere as residents of Miami-Dade and Monroe County residents obey evacuation orders there and flee their homes in anticipation of the category 5 storm's arrival this weekend. The Florida Turnpike, Interstate 95 and Interstate 75 are already clogged with traffic throughout the state.

More communities are following their lead. Pinellas County on Thursday issued a mandatory evacuation order for all Level A residents, those who live in low-lying areas and mobile homes. Levels B and C could soon follow on Friday.

All tolls have been suspended throughout the state because of the impending storm. Florida state officials have urged residents who want to evacuate not to delay — they should leave as soon as possible.

Real-time traffic updates are available from the state at fl511.com.

Fuel supplies are running low around the state, as state officials scramble to address the pre-hurricane demand. GasBuddy offers a tracker to find out which gas stations have fuel, so drivers know where they can gas up.

In the mean time, don't be surprised if you see caravans of law enforcement escorting fuel tankers. Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday morning that's one of the measures the state has taken to get fuel supplies to where they're needed most as shortages are reported throughout the state.

Comments
Forecast: Hot and humid on summerís eve across Tampa Bay, with rain chances increasing

Forecast: Hot and humid on summerís eve across Tampa Bay, with rain chances increasing

Wednesday will be the longest day of the year, literally, as the day before the official start of summer yields the most amount of sunshine.Tampa Bay has already seen lots of sunshine, heat and humidity this year, and while that sunshine may be obscu...
Published: 06/20/18
Forecast: High humidity, searing temperatures and little rain across Tampa Bay

Forecast: High humidity, searing temperatures and little rain across Tampa Bay

Dry air will keep rain chances down Tuesday, which could be a good or bad thing depending on your afternoon plans.While showers will be at a minimum, the searing heat wonít be as high humidity and mostly sunny skies will push the heat index at ar nea...
Published: 06/19/18
Forecast: Hot and humid across Tampa Bay, with potentially wet weekend

Forecast: Hot and humid across Tampa Bay, with potentially wet weekend

Summer officially doesn’t start for another three days, but that won’t stop the searing temperatures and stifling humidity from making for a hot and sticky week across Tampa Bay. Temperatures will climb well into the 90s — and feel...
Published: 06/18/18
Forecast: Plenty of sunshine for Fatherís Day with small chances of isolated showers

Forecast: Plenty of sunshine for Fatherís Day with small chances of isolated showers

As the week comes to a close, Tampa Bay can expect some pretty standard summer-like days with highs near the 90s and afternoon showers popping up around the bay.Friday morning, Tampa Bay will rise with a lot of sunshine. Some scattered showers may dr...
Published: 06/15/18
Strong winds from Tropical Storm Bud hit Mexicoís Los Cabos

Strong winds from Tropical Storm Bud hit Mexicoís Los Cabos

SAN JOSE DEL CABO, Mexico ó Tropical Storm Bud lashed the southern end of Mexicoís Baja California Peninsula, home to the popular beach resorts of Los Cabos, with heavy winds Thursday as locals and tourists braced for an expected landfall later in th...
Published: 06/14/18
Check out this waterspout that formed in waters off Egmont Key

Check out this waterspout that formed in waters off Egmont Key

ST. PETERSBURG ó While the chance for an isolated shower or thunderstorm along the coast will remain just that this week, that doesnít preclude the possibility a strong cell could form in the morning.That exact scenario occurred Thursday morning as T...
Published: 06/14/18
Forecast: Early taste of summer for Fatherís Day across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Early taste of summer for Fatherís Day across Tampa Bay

Summer officially starts one week from today, but the familiar summertime pattern is firmly intact across Tampa Bay.That means warm days, high humidity and a small chance for an isolated popup afternoon storm. In other words, a great opportunity to h...
Published: 06/14/18
Forecast: Hot days, scattered showers are still the rule across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Hot days, scattered showers are still the rule across Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay should continue seeing summer-like days through the rest of the week with sunny, partly cloudy skies and a chance for pop-up afternoon showers.A light westerly flow off the Gulf of Mexico will help push coastal breezes further inland, carry...
Published: 06/13/18
Forecast: Typical June week for Tampa Bay with hot afternoons, mostly sunny skies

Forecast: Typical June week for Tampa Bay with hot afternoons, mostly sunny skies

Monday should set up a pretty typical June week, with hot temperatures and a very low chance for brief scattered showers.Afternoon highs should be near 90 under mostly sunny skies and a small chance of pop up scattered showers that will dissipate qui...
Published: 06/11/18
Forecast: Sunny skies to make for ideal beach weekend across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Sunny skies to make for ideal beach weekend across Tampa Bay

There is a chance of rain throughout Friday, but the weekend should be perfect to make those beach plans.Similar to the past two days, showers could appear around the coast early Friday morning, but by the afternoon those storms should move inland, a...
Published: 06/08/18