(updated 4:30pm Thursday )
Everyone who lives in a low-lying area or a mobile home in Pinellas County was ordered to evacuate their residences as Hurricane Irma threatens Florida.
Access to beach communities will be restricted starting at 10 a.m. Friday. At 8 a.m. Sunday, that access will be cut off. Deputies will not allow anyone to re-enter those areas.
Those measures were all a part of the Pinellas County Commission’s unanimous decision Thursday to issue an evacuation order for Level A residents — which includes mobile homes and low-lying areas — starting at 6 a.m. Friday. That order affects about 160,000 residents.
A decision on Levels B and C residents will be made Friday night, which could affect another 340,000 residents.
All told, that would mean 500,000 residents could be ordered to evacuate Pinellas County in the next 48 hours or so as the Category 5 storm draws ever closer to South Florida.