October 2018

Important phone numbers and websites

Pinellas County Emergency Management: (727) 464-3800 | www.pinellascounty.org/emergency

Find your evacuation level: (727) 453-3150 | www.pinellascounty.org/knowyourzone

Special Needs Registration: (727) 464-3800 | www.pinellascounty.org/forms/evac-assist.htm

Follow Pinellas County Emergency Management on Twitter | twitter.com/PinellasEM

Download the new Ready Pinellas app | www.pinellascounty.org/readypinellas

Sign up for Pinellas County's Emergency Notification Service Alert Pinellas | www.pinellascounty.org/alertpinellas

Set your Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) equipped all-hazards alert radio for Pinellas County: Enter code 012103

If you know someone who would like to receive the e-Lert newsletter, have them visit www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/subscribe.htm

 

From the Desk of Pinellas County Emergency Management Interim Director David Halstead

Keep an Eye on the Gulf

This week, the storm in the Gulf is demonstrating that hurricane season continues to be a busy time for the tropics. Please pay close attention to official information. Be certain that you know your evacuation zone and have your plans in place.

A couple of other memorable October storms from the National Weather Service:

Hurricane Matthew—Near McClellanville, S.C. Oct. 8–9, 2016

  • Loss of life: 49 people
  • 107 mph wind gusts measured off Cape Canaveral
  • 7.70 foot storm surge measured at Fort Pulaski Ga.; 6.96 at Fernandina Beach, FL
  • A new inlet was created south of St. Augustine
  • Highway AIA washed away in Flagler Beach
  • Catastrophic flooding in Carolinas
  • “... partners stated repeatedly that while they understood inland flooding was expected, the impacts/magnitude of the flooding caught them by surprise.” (NOAA, Hurricane Matthew Report)

Superstorm Sandy—Near Atlantic City, N.J. Oct. 29, 2012

  • Loss of life: 120 people
  • 96 mph wind gusts recorded in Suffolk County, N.Y.
  • 32.5 foot wave heights in the Atlantic City, N.J.
  • 8.94 foot storm surge in Rockaway, N.Y.
  • Storm surge flooded New York City streets, tunnels and subway lines
  • NYC subway system closed; NYC Stock Exchange closed
  • Nearly $70 million in damages

Hurricane Wilma – North of Everglades City, FL Oct. 24, 2005

  • Loss of life: 5 people in Florida
  • 103 mph wind gusts recorded at Lake Okeechobee
  • 7-foot storm surge in Marco Island, Everglades City
  • Extensive flood damage in Keys
  • Damage to commercial fishing industry
  • Widespread destruction of power, water, and sewer systems
  • Insurance claims in Monroe County totaled more than $1 million

Every storm is different but the message stays the same: Be prepared and remain vigilant until Nov. 30.

Be safe.

David Halstead
Pinellas County Emergency Management Interim Director

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Mutual Aid

The one thing we know about disasters is that when people are in trouble, there are others in the community who are ready to help. This is also true in the field of Emergency Management, where mutual aid agreements ensure that communities hit hard by disasters can request aid from other regions.

With Hurricane Florence still five days away, Florida’s Region 4/6 received a request for an Incident Management Team. A 12-member team deployed quickly, with representation from Pasco County, the City of Lakeland, University of South Florida, and fire department emergency responders. Clayton Parrott represented Pinellas County Emergency Management.

When deployed to Brunswick County, N.C., on Sept. 16, they were flown in a Chinook helicopter because the roads were impassable. Rivers overflowed, dams broke, roads and homes flooded. Like Pinellas County, Brunswick County became a peninsula, with the flooding separating the county into two islands.

“At the end of the day you knew that these people were hurting, and you had to look after them,” Parrott said. “I knew I had a house, a warm bed, and a job to go back to. These people had no home to go back to. The ones who were most affected were those who could afford it the least. It was very humbling. When you look around at these people—they were just devastated.”

Thanks to the success of the emergency mutual aid, we can be assured that when Pinellas County suffers a devastating hit from a hurricane, there will be emergency responders from other communities to help.

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