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Pinellas reopens access to barrier islands to all, including residents

Storm surge from Hurricane Idalia flooded coastal areas early Wednesday, making roads inaccessible for much of the day.
 
A screenshot from a video posted on social media by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office about 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday shows flooding along Gulf Boulevard in St. Pete Beach from Hurricane Idalia. The sheriff's office closed access to Pinellas County's barrier islands to all including residents effective 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
A screenshot from a video posted on social media by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office about 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday shows flooding along Gulf Boulevard in St. Pete Beach from Hurricane Idalia. The sheriff's office closed access to Pinellas County's barrier islands to all including residents effective 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday. [ Pinellas County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Aug. 30, 2023|Updated Aug. 30, 2023

Authorities restored access to all of Pinellas County’s barrier islands and reopened the bridges Wednesday evening, around 12 hours after flooding from Hurricane Idalia swamped coastal areas, leading to the closures.

Access to the islands had been closed to everyone, including residents, starting at 5:30 a.m., the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office announced. The closure applied to Belleair Beach, Belleair Shore, Clearwater Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Madeira Beach, North Redington Beach, Redington Beach, Redington Shores, St. Pete Beach, Tierra Verde and Treasure Island.

But as of 5 p.m., the islands are “open to the public with no restrictions,” the Sheriff’s Office said in an evening news release.

Videos posted on the Sheriff’s Office’s social media accounts early Wednesday showed flooding in St. Pete Beach, including several feet of water on Sunset Way.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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