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Friends, Residents, and Tourists,
At this writing, the sandbag station at Archibald Park has closed and no sandbags remain. Our staff, volunteers, and Mayor Hendricks and Commissioner Hutson has all worked hard the last three days. Also, thanks to Frabotta’s Beach Kitchen, who supplied are hardworking crews with pizza. Neighbors helping neighbors.
As of 2 p.m., Tropical Storm Elsa is projected to be a CAT 1 hurricane later this afternoon and is still projected to be off our coast during the evening to overnight hours. Do not panic! This storm is taking a similar path to Eta as it approaches us and makes landfall to our North. Eta was also originally a CAT 1 hurricane. It will be close to our shore tonight and through the morning hours Wednesday. The high tide in our area is around 1:30 – 2:00 a.m. Wednesday morning but Pinellas County expects flooding to occur on the barrier islands by 10 p.m. with seas being 3 – 5 feet. So please take note that your evacuation must occur before 8 p.m., for your safety. Access to the barrier islands will be limited to residents, hotel guests, and businesses after 6 p.m. Pinellas County Sheriff’s personnel will be staffing checkpoints to keep outsiders from accessing the islands. Additionally, it is projected that our winds will be over 60 mph this evening and the Fire Department and the Sheriff’s Office cannot safely respond to help you, until the winds subside.
We have not heard of additional shelters being opened as of yet by Pinellas County, but I have a conference call with them at 3 p.m. and will pass along any information. So far, they have opened two shelters at Lealman Exchange, 5175 45th St N in St. Petersburg, for general evacuation, special needs, and is also pet friendly. The second one is just for general evacuation and is Ross Norton Recreation Center, 1426 South Martin Luther King Ave, Clearwater. Expect crowded conditions and noise, which is why having your personal plan is the best option. It is still not too late to make a reservation with a hotel on high ground with a generator. Secure your house and turn the breakers off except for your refrigerators and evacuate.
- DO NOT PANIC!
- Implement your evacuation plan now! Take your valuables and pets with you, to a friends or relatives house, or a hotel on high land. Take some pictures of your home for insurance purposes.
- If you decide to shelter in place, you are making a commitment to stay in your home during the storm. If your home floods, please remember downed power lines can energize standing water and can kill you or members of your family. If you home floods, turn your breakers off so chances are you will not be shocked.
- After the storm if you shelter in place, make sure it is safe to exit your home and again take photographs of the interior of your home and the exterior. Photograph any evidence of the flood water height inside and outside your home, preferably water marks by your front and back doors.
- We will have City damage assessment teams out on Wednesday as soon as conditions are safe. They will have City identification and we ask that you cooperate with their documentation requirements before you start stripping items out of your home. Representatives from our building department will also be available to answer questions.
- We will have our phones at City Hall operating on Wednesday July 7, 2021 as soon as staff can return. Otherwise, City Hall will be closed on Wednesday and open on Thursday.
- Tom Stuart Causeway will have restricted access starting at 6pm on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 per Pinellas County
- Residents, Resort Guests and Business owners will be allowed on the island after the 6pm “restricted access soft closure”
- The bridge will be in a down position from 6pm to 7am which means no boats will be allowed through
- Outlets to follow for storm updates:
Now is not the time to:
- DO NOT TRIM your trees. Sanitation cannot pick-up the debris and it will be a blowing weapon in the wind.
- Do not evacuate in the middle of the storm. Evacuate early as there will be no help available during the storm and you could step on a downed power line, or it could energize the water you need to walk through. Also, your car might stall if the flooding occurs from salt water and will damage your engine.
Sanitation services will be suspended on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 and should resume Thursday, July 8, 2021.
We will send an update later today. Keep informed. Should you have any questions, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good Luck and be safe,
City Manager, City of Madeira Beach