With Category 5 Hurricane Irma bearing down on Florida, and with the possibility of nine-foot storm surges along the Gulf Coast, Manatee County officials issued voluntary evacuation requests for low-lying areas and mobile home residents beginning Friday, Sept. 8 at 7 a.m.
The voluntary evacuation applies to those living in evacuation Level A, which includes mobile homes and anyone residing near the coast, rivers, streams and in low-lying areas.
Residents who are not familiar with their evacuation level can simply visit the Manatee County evacuation maps online and enter their home address to determine their storm surge evacuation level.
Four storm shelters will open Friday at 4 p.m.
“Our emergency shelters should be a last option for anyone who’s decided to leave their home,” said Sherilyn Burris, emergency management chief, in a press release. “We strongly encourage people to stay with family and friends outside of the evacuation area.”
Shelters include: Myakka Elementary School, 37205 Manatee Avenue, Myakka City; Braden River High School (pet friendly), 6545 State Road 70 East, Bradenton; Manatee High School (pet friendly), 1000 32nd Street West, Bradenton; and Mills Elementary (pet friendly), 7200 69th Street East, Palmetto
The county is additionally coordinating transportation and sheltering assistance to registered special needs clients.
More than 60,000 sandbags were distributed Wednesday by Manatee County Public Works crews. Crews will continues to distribute sandbags today until 6 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Lakewood Ranch Community Park, 5350 Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, and Stormwater Ops, 5511 39th Street East, Bradenton.