PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) –

NOTE: Friday, July 30, 2020 – At the time of the meeting, Hurricane Isaias was a Tropical Storm and had yet to be upgraded. It is important to follow up to the minute coverage of the storm. 

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Pinellas County’s Emergency Management team gave county board members insight on their plans as Floridians prepare for tropical storm Isaias.

“We are looking at the current timing for when we think the storm could potentially impact Pinellas County,” said Cathie Perkins, Director, Pinellas County Emergency Management. “In Emergency Management, we always like to prepare for higher impacts just in case, so our team has been having community meetings,”.

Officials say they have boots on the ground in different parts of the county checking flood areas.

“Public Works has already gone out to look at the usual spots for where there is flooding. The Brooker Creek, Tarpon Springs area is running a little bit higher than normal, so they are monitoring that,” said Perkins.

The good news: we haven’t had a major influx of rain in those areas so most levels are low according to Emergency Management.

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“They will certainly monitor that. If they need to put pumps out there, they are prepared to do that,” said Perkins. The next step, Perkins says, is looking at shelters and staffing them, of course, with Covid-19 in mind. “If we need to open up any shelters, we have been talking about contingencies for that. If we think we could have the high tropical storm force winds, then we could look at potentially opening a community center,”.

“Obviously staffing during a pandemic is a concern. It’s a concern for everybody. We’re going to have to work together to talk about options and alternatives,” said Barry Burton, Pinellas County Administrator.

Officials are keeping a close eye on coastal areas but don’t expect life-threatening storm surge in the county.

“At this point in time, we don’t think there is a need to call for any evacuations. Certainly if we think the winds will be high, we’ll take into consideration our electric dependent and our folks that live in mobile homes,” said Perkins.

PIE International Airport is also looking at any impacts on their runways with any high tides or coastal inundation. As we mentioned yesterday, Mahaffey site operations have been suspended until next week. The CIC will be open to take calls from the public.

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