Shelters opening in Tampa Bay for those seeking safety in storm

So far, there are two in Pinellas, one in Hillsborough and one in Hernando.
Volunteers prepare a storm shelter in Hillsborough County as Hurricane Irma threatened in 2019.
Volunteers prepare a storm shelter in Hillsborough County as Hurricane Irma threatened in 2019. [ Hillsborough County Public Schools (2017) ]
Published Jul. 6, 2021|Updated Jul. 6, 2021

Local governments across Tampa Bay are opening a few shelters for people concerned about their safety with the approach of Tropical Storm Elsa. More will be added as information becomes available.

Pinellas County

Pinellas County was scheduled to open two shelters at 9 a.m. Tuesday for residents seeking emergency shelter from Tropical Storm Elsa.

  • Lealman Exchange shelter, at 5175 45th St. N in St. Petersburg, will open for the general population, those with special needs and persons with pets.
  • Ross Norton Recreation Center shelter, 1426 S. Martin Luther King Jr Ave. in Clearwater, will open to the general population.

Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority plans to offer free rides to the two shelters starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Pets will be permitted on evacuation buses as long as they are in a pet carrier. The latest information on PSTA bus service can be obtained by calling the InfoLine at 727-540-1900 or by visiting the website.

Residents who need to evacuate to a shelter are encouraged to pack an essential “Go Bag” items, but pack light. Space is very limited. Social distancing space (6 feet by 6 feet) will be provided to the extent possible. Residents are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines regarding face coverings.

Hillsborough County

A shelter at Riverview High School, 11311 Boyette Road in Riverview, was scheduled to open at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

No evacuations have been called in Hillsborough County. The shelter is intended for residents who are concerned about staying in their homes during a tropical storm, such as those dependent on electricity for home medical needs or who live in homes and manufactured housing that are susceptible to storm damage.

Pets will be accepted. Pet owners must bring a sturdy carrier for each pet that allows room for the pet to stand up and move around. Also bring proof of current rabies vaccination and license for dogs and cats, and pet supplies including food, water, litter, treats, cleaning supplies, and medications, etc. The pet must arrive on a leash or in a carrier.

Wherever possible, residents should consider other alternatives to a public shelter, such as staying with friends, family, or in a hotel, Hillsborough County authorities said.

Residents who need transportation to the shelter and have no other options can call (813) 272-5900 beginning at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

COVID-19 coronavirus protocols will be in place. Health screenings and temperature checks will be conducted at the door. Face coverings will be required to be worn while inside. In addition to face coverings and hand sanitizer, residents should bring only essential items.

Hernando County

A general population, special needs and pet-friendly shelter was scheduled to open 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Enrichment Center, 800 John Gary Grubbs Blvd., Brooksville. Visit the county evacuation website to see the location of your evacuation zone.

Citrus County

Two Citrus County schools will open at 6 p.m. on Tuesday to serve as storm shelters.

People with special needs can go to Renaissance, and Lecanto Primary school will serve the general population and be pet friendly.

Pasco County

Pasco County will open the Mike Fasano Regional Hurricane Shelter at 6:30 p.m. as a “last resort” for anyone wanting to leave their home ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa. The county asked that residents attempt to find shelter with relatives, neighbors or friends before resorting to shelter. The shelter is located at 11611 Denton Avenue in Hudson.

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2021 Tampa Bay Times hurricane guide

IT’S STORM SEASON: Get ready and stay informed at

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE: Seven hurricane myths that need to go away

BACK-UP YOUR DATA: Protect your data, documents and photos

BUILD YOUR HURRICANE KIT: Gear up — and mask up — before the storm hits

PROTECT YOUR PETS: Here’s how to keep your pets as safe as you

NEED TO KNOW: Click here to find your evacuation zone and shelter