Pinellas County to open two community shelters tonight

PINELLAS COUNTY — Pinellas County is under a tropical storm warning, and the area may experience winds of up to 65 miles per hour overnight tonight into Thursday afternoon. While Wednesday evening and Thursday morning will have lower-than-usual tidal levels, coastal flooding is anticipated on Thursday evening going into Friday morning.

Pinellas County staff will open two community shelters at 6 p.m. Wednesday:

— Ross Norton Recreation Center at 1426 S M.L.K. Jr. Ave., Clearwater.

— Lealman Exchange Community Center, 5175 45th St. N., St. Petersburg, which is equipped to support residents who depend on electricity or require medical assistance such as oxygen or assistance with routine care. Lealman will also be a pet-friendly shelter.

If you go to a shelter, you must bring your own bedding and comfort items. Limited cots will be on hand for special needs clients only at Lealman. Water and limited shelf-stable meals will be provided. If you have special dietary needs, you must provide your own food.

Dogs and cats brought to the Lealman Exchange pet-friendly shelter must come in a cage with appropriate pet food and supplies.

Residents using PSTA buses to travel to the community shelters can ride free; just let the driver know where you are heading when you board the bus. Dogs and cats in cages heading to the Lealman Exchange shelter will be allowed on the bus.

Pinellas County Public Works completed checks and maintenance of the county’s stormwater drainage system to reduce the risk of flooding.

The County Information Center will open at 5 p.m. today and remain open overnight. Call (727) 464-4333. Residents who are deaf or hard of hearing can contact the County Information Center via online chat at

Pinellas County offices will remain open, including Fort De Soto Campground and boat ramps. Cancellation fees for Fort De Soto campsites are waived for Wednesday and Thursday.

Web updates will be posted online at, on Facebook @PinellasGov and Twitter @PinellasGov.

All PSTA bus routes remain on their regular schedule, which ends at midnight and starts after 4 a.m. You can see PSTA bus schedules here.

Prepare for coastal flooding Thursday:

The forecast indicates that tides associated with Tropical Storm Nicole may be one to three feet above normal high tide after the storm passes. Localized flooding in low-lying coastal areas may occur Thursday and Friday. If you’re in a low-lying area that has flooded in the past, move vehicles to higher ground and don’t drive through or play in flood water.

 Prepare for tropical storm-force winds:

— Before the arrival of winds, secure outdoor furniture or other items that may be picked up by the wind

— Clean up any piles of branches so they do not become flying debris

— Older mobile homes may be more vulnerable to tropical-storm-force winds. Consider seeking shelter with friends or family in a stronger structure

 Stay informed:

— Sign up for Alert Pinellas at and download the new Ready Pinellas app in the App Store or Google Play store for real-time storm updates

— Monitor local news media, National Weather Service,, Facebook @PinellasGov and Twitter @PinellasGov

— Review tips and planning tools in the 2022 All Hazards Preparedness Guide online at

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