Hurricane Irma Worst-Case Scenario for Pinellas County, FL

How would this ‘Worst-Case’ Scenario affect the Pinellas County area?

Project Phoenix

The “Tampa Bay Catastrophic Plan: Project Phoenix”, a worst-case scenario plan developed in 2010 by The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council and multiple other contributors included FEMA has laid out the following outcomes of a fictitious storm dubbed “Hurricane Pheonix”.

Day 1, Landfall

Landfall as the center of the eye hits Indian Rocks Beach at noon.

Storm surge will be reach levels of 11-16 feet above normal tides levels.

Just hours later the surge will rise to over 20 feet.

The three major bridges that connect St. Petersburg to Tampa Bay are now damaged or submerged and no longer passable. **Personal Opinion: Likely closed well before landfall is made.

Storm surge flooding and high winds damage buildings and homes to an extensive degree.

Day 2, Aftermath

Rescue operations begin but are hard going as debris blocks roadways.

Casualty estimates are high.

Pinellas County power outage estimate:

  • 425,113 persons without power for up to 3 days.
  • 418k powerless for 7-15 days.
  • 224k without power for over 30 days.

Cell Phone Infrastructure:
Project Phoenix does not specify a timeframe but does state that the cell phone system will be “barely operational” due to wind and flood damage.

“All water for human and pet use will require boiling.”

Household Displacement
Pinellas county households displaced: 383,213.
Individual Persons Displaced in Pinellas County: 889,054

Estimated Direct Casualties:
Pinellas County: 889

Including not only Pinellas County but also the surround areas the economic impact could reach $250 billion in losses.


Project Phoenix PDF

We highly recommend you have a close look at the PDF in the above link as it is very detailed in the exact ramifications of a Category 5 hurricane devastating Pinellas County and the surrounding areas.

Potential Timeline of Worst-Cast Scenario Hit By Irma

Sunday 9/10: South of Cuba

Tuesday 9/12: Stalls & Strengthens. Hurricane Irma stalls & strengthens to a Category 5 in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Thursday 9/14: Landfall. Landfall is made in St. Petersburg, fl. At this point hurricane Irma hinges on becoming the strongest storm to ever make landfall in the U.S. Severe winds and high flooding could result in massive casualties.

**Disclaimer: This timeline and plot is a hypothetical ‘worst-case’ outcome based on the potential of a series of circumstances culminating in the ‘perfect storm’.

It is highly recommended that you keep a close eye on the professional forecasts for hurricane Irma and plan
accordingly. Do not wait till the last minute to evacuate or prepare food and water for a worst-cast scenario.

**If you have pets please take extra time to consider their needs as in the event of major flooding they may not be able to be rescued with you.

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