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Hillsborough expands mandatory evacuation order

The county wants 390,000 residents to move to safety in advance of Hurricane Ian.
Debbie Ballantyne, 57, loads groceries including bottled water and wine in preparation for Hurricane Ian she picked up at Publix in Plant City on Tuesday. Hillsborough County is asking 390,000 residents to evacuate their homes in advance of the hurricane.
Debbie Ballantyne, 57, loads groceries including bottled water and wine in preparation for Hurricane Ian she picked up at Publix in Plant City on Tuesday. Hillsborough County is asking 390,000 residents to evacuate their homes in advance of the hurricane. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Sep. 27

TAMPA — Hillsborough County expanded its evacuation order Tuesday, telling 90,000 additional residents to leave their homes for safer grounds before Hurricane Ian comes to town.

The county’s Zone B, which had been under a voluntary evacuation recommendation, is now under a mandated order beginning at noon. Hillsborough County Administrator Bonnie Wise said residents should be out of their homes by 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Hillsborough County on Monday ordered residents in its coastal areas and people living in mobile and manufactured houses to evacuate their homes. That initial order applied to more than 300,000 people in regions along Tampa and Hillsborough bays from the Manatee County line to as far north as a portion of Race Track Road on the county’s west side. That evacuation zone also includes the areas along waterways feeding into the bay, including the Hillsborough, Alafia and other rivers.

The expansion into Zone B is for the areas adjoining Zone A. The county’s evacuation maps can be found here. A city of Tampa information center can be reached at 888-872-4636. In Hillsborough County, call 833-427-8676

As of Tuesday morning, more than 600 people had taken refuge in one of the 43 schools serving as shelters, said Hillsborough Emergency Management Director Tim Dudley.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister asked residents to be proactive and said he was heartened by the images of heavy traffic on Interstates 4 and 75, presumably caused by motorists leaving the area.

“It’s the only time that traffic can make me so happy,” Chronister told reporters at the Hillsborough County public safety complex.

Mandatory evacuations, however, do not mean forced evacuations. It means people who stay could put themselves in peril if emergency workers later cannot respond to calls for help.

“We’re not throwing anyone out of their homes,” said Chronister. “If they stay, they’re going to do it at their own risk.”

• • •

2022 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide

IT'S STORM SEASON: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane.

RISING THREAT: Tampa Bay will flood. Here's how to get ready.

DOUBLE-CHECK: Checklists for building all kinds of hurricane kits

PHONE IT IN: Use your smartphone to protect your data, documents and photos.

SELF-CARE: Protect your mental health during a hurricane.

• • •

Rising Threat: A special report on flood risk and climate change

PART 1: The Tampa Bay Times partnered with the National Hurricane Center for a revealing look at future storms.

PART 2: Even weak hurricanes can cause huge storm surges. Experts say people don't understand the risk.

PART 3: Tampa Bay has huge flood risk. What should we do about it?

INTERACTIVE MAP: Search your Tampa Bay neighborhood to see the hurricane flood risk.

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