Citrus County opens shelters, orders coastal evacuation ahead of Hurricane Ian
Floridians are worried about hurricane season, but not really prepared.

"Evacuation Route" Sign
Officials say storm surge could bring 10 feet of water into coastal Citrus at high tide.

Citrus County is calling for mandatory evacuation of coastal communities in anticipation of Hurricane Ian’s arrival sometime Wednesday.

Shelters are being opened at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The evacuation order is for all areas west of U.S 19, including Chassahowitzka, Crystal River, Homosassa and Ozello, and some areas east of U.S. 19. All other areas are in a voluntary evacuation, especially for people living in mobile homes, RVs and manufactured homes.

Here are the shelters:

— Forest Ridge Elementary School (special needs), 2927 North Forest Ridge Blvd., Hernando.

— Lecanto Primary (pet friendly), 3790 W Educational Path, Lecanto.

— Central Ridge Elementary School (general population), 185 West Citrus Springs Blvd., Citrus Springs.

— Citrus High School (general population), 600 West Highland Blvd., Inverness.

Emergency officials say public shelters should be an option of last resort. Citizens should make all preparations to shelter with family or friends and exhaust all other options before utilizing a public shelter. 

Sexual offenders must report to the Citrus County Detention Facility to seek shelter if needed. 

Also, Ian related:

Citrus County Schools will be closed Friday. Schools had already been closed Wednesday and Thursday for the storm.

— All county offices will be closed Wednesday and Thursday.

— Citrus County Transit Services are suspended until further notice.

— All Citrus County Parks and Recreation programs are canceled through Thursday.

— All Citrus County Library System programs are canceled through Saturday.

The county also two full-service sandbag locations:

— 4210 S. Grandmarch Ave., Homosassa (near Homosassa Public Library).

— 7500 W. Gulf to Lake Hwy (S.R. 44, across from Dan’s Clam Stand), Crystal River.

Officials say storm surge from Ian could exceed 10 feet at high tide, which would bring unprecedented flooding to Crystal River and coastal Citrus County.

Mike Wright

Mike Wright is a former reporter with the Citrus County Chronicle, where he had covered county government and politics since 1987. Mike's skills as an investigative reporter earned him first-place awards in investigative writing. Mike also helped the Chronicle win the Frances Devore Award for Public Service in 2002.



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