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UPDATE: Shelter space in Manatee County dwindles

Those evacuating to shelters urged to find a spot by 8 p.m. Saturday.

Manatee County shelters were near capacity on Saturday afternoon.
Manatee County shelters were near capacity on Saturday afternoon.
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Despite more than 19,300 people evacuating to Manatee County shelters, there is still room for 5,000 more people as of 9 p.m. on Sept. 9.

Thirteen shelters still have room, according to the Manatee County website. For a full list of shelter availability, click here


As of 4 p.m., Saturday, five of Manatee County's now 25 shelters were filled to capacity with others filling quickly.

Four eastern Manatee County shelters, Annie Lucy Williams, B.D. Gullett, Robert Willis and Gene Witt elementary schools, still have room for a combined 3,400 people.

"We need folks to stay calm," County Administrator Ed Hunzeker said. "You need to find shelter or hunker down by 8 p.m. Once tropical storm-force winds begin, it could be up to 72 hours before first responders can get to you."

Manatee County remains at a mandatory Level A and voluntary Level B evacuations with the brunt of Hurricane Irma expected to hit Sunday. 

According to a Manatee County release, access to the Manatee and Cortez bridges will be restricted onto Anna Maria Island at 6 p.m. Saturday. 

In the release, Public Safety Director Bob Smith passed along several preparedness tips for anyone who has decided to stay at home through the storm: 

Fill containers up to 2/3 full with tap water and freeze.

Designate a safe room away from windows and the exterior of a home. Remember to bring supplies and a radio into the room.

Stay calm. Try to keep children calm and occupied during high winds. 

Do not step outside or leave your home during the storm unless there is a fire. 

Do not feed the generator into your home power. Only power items directly from a generator located outside the home.

For more information, visit online at or call (941) 748-4501. Manatee County can be followed on Facebook at and on Twitter, @ManateeGov.




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