Friday, June 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Tampa orders evacuation for city residents in low-lying Zone A

TAMPA — The city of Tampa ordered a mandatory evacuation effective 2 p.m. Friday for residents, hotels and motels, high-rise buildings, people with special needs and those living in mobile or manufactured housing in the low-lying Evacuation Zone A.

Despite the order, Tampa officials said they were not forcing guests who have already checked into hotels in Zone A to leave. How that decision is handled will be up to the guests and hotels themselves.

"The recommendation has been made, but it falls on the hotels how they're going to execute that," Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman Jason Penny said.

By Friday afternoon, Hillsborough County officials had not ordered any mandatory evacuations for areas outside the city.

The only evacuation orders by the county were for special needs residents in Evacuation Zone A. The order for a voluntary evacuation was issued Thursday afternoon.

The voluntary evacuation will be expanded to the county's entire Zone A starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, said Preston Cook, the county's emergency management director, during a briefing with reporters Friday afternoon. That includes residents in mobile homes throughout the county. All residents in those areas are "strongly encouraged" to evacuate.

Hillsborough County's approach differs from places such as Pinellas County, where officials ordered a mandatory evacuation for coastal areas and other places vulnerable to storm surge. Several counties in south Florida also issued mandatory evacuations.

Cook said the voluntary evacuation orders in Hillsborough were issued based on five to seven feet of storm surge that the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center said the county is expected to receive. That could change if the forecast track shifted.

"We're watching the storm hour by hour to make sure we're in the right posture for the storm," Cook said. "We're not expecting to see the water in terms of storm surge from this particular storm. If that changes, all bets are off. Listen for changes in the track and from us in terms of additional actions."

With wind gusts that could reach 100 mph or more, Cook said, it's "highly recommended" that mobile home residents throughout the county find a more sturdy place to ride out the storm.

Tampa officials said they issued their order in anticipation of high winds expected across the city and potential storm surge that may occur along the city's coastal areas. They could not immediately say how many people in Zone A would be affected by the order.

"We're hopeful that the surge, because we're on the back side of the storm, will not be that significant but we've got to prepare, particularly for those senior citizens and folks that have infirmities that would cause them to be harm's way," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said a midday news conference with Gov. Rick Scott at the Hillsborough County Public Safety Operations Complex in Tampa.

Hillsborough County opened two shelters exclusively for special needs evacuees on Friday at Strawberry Crest High School and the SunDome at the University of South Florida.

The county plans to open 14 more shelters at 8 a.m. Saturday for residents from Zone A as well as evacuees from other Florida counties who have been unable to find a place to stay elsewhere.

If you decide to stay at a shelter, officials said, be sure to bring proper identification, money and any medicines you need.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn said he didn't think residents needed to go far away, just somewhere in the city not so close to the coast.

"Go find somebody you can stay with for a few hours, especially Sunday morning," he said. His wife and daughters were clearing out of their home on Davis Islands for refuge elsewhere in the city. "You do not have to go to Georgia to be safe."

As of Friday morning, the city had given out more than 70,000 sand bags and ran out but was expecting more to arrive around noon.

"There's a big demand; it's unprecedented," Buckhorn said. Still, he said he expects flooding mainly in areas that typically see standing water after a big storm. "I don't think the storm surge is going to be catastrophic like it's going to be on the east coast."

He had one more piece of advice.

"Look out for your neighbor," he said. "Be a great Floridian."

To get news alerts directly from the city, follow @CityofTampa and @AlertTampa on Twitter, text TampaReady to 888-777 or go to Tampagov.net/alerttampa.

Comments
Romano: You better hope Iím wrong about flood insurance

Romano: You better hope Iím wrong about flood insurance

Chances are, Iíll go down as the Boy Who Cried Flood.You might have noticed, Iíve been shouting about the imminent calamity of flood waters for quite a few years now. If I wasnít trying to frighten you into buying flood insurance, I was worrying you ...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Forecast: Muggy and hot with a chance of rain for Pride festivities

As the first weekend of summer swings in, it appears Tampa Bay should expect more heat, humidity and a chance of afternoon showers.Increased moisture in the Gulf of Mexico will result in scattered showers and isolated storms for coastal areas of Tamp...
Published: 06/22/18
Forecast: Hot and humid on summerís eve across Tampa Bay, with rain chances increasing

Forecast: Hot and humid on summerís eve across Tampa Bay, with rain chances increasing

Wednesday will be the longest day of the year, literally, as the day before the official start of summer yields the most amount of sunshine.Tampa Bay has already seen lots of sunshine, heat and humidity this year, and while that sunshine may be obscu...
Published: 06/20/18
Forecast: High humidity, searing temperatures and little rain across Tampa Bay

Forecast: High humidity, searing temperatures and little rain across Tampa Bay

Dry air will keep rain chances down Tuesday, which could be a good or bad thing depending on your afternoon plans.While showers will be at a minimum, the searing heat wonít be as high humidity and mostly sunny skies will push the heat index at ar nea...
Published: 06/19/18
Forecast: Hot and humid across Tampa Bay, with potentially wet weekend

Forecast: Hot and humid across Tampa Bay, with potentially wet weekend

Summer officially doesn’t start for another three days, but that won’t stop the searing temperatures and stifling humidity from making for a hot and sticky week across Tampa Bay. Temperatures will climb well into the 90s — and feel...
Published: 06/18/18
Forecast: Plenty of sunshine for Fatherís Day with small chances of isolated showers

Forecast: Plenty of sunshine for Fatherís Day with small chances of isolated showers

As the week comes to a close, Tampa Bay can expect some pretty standard summer-like days with highs near the 90s and afternoon showers popping up around the bay.Friday morning, Tampa Bay will rise with a lot of sunshine. Some scattered showers may dr...
Published: 06/15/18
Strong winds from Tropical Storm Bud hit Mexicoís Los Cabos

Strong winds from Tropical Storm Bud hit Mexicoís Los Cabos

SAN JOSE DEL CABO, Mexico ó Tropical Storm Bud lashed the southern end of Mexicoís Baja California Peninsula, home to the popular beach resorts of Los Cabos, with heavy winds Thursday as locals and tourists braced for an expected landfall later in th...
Published: 06/14/18
Check out this waterspout that formed in waters off Egmont Key

Check out this waterspout that formed in waters off Egmont Key

ST. PETERSBURG ó While the chance for an isolated shower or thunderstorm along the coast will remain just that this week, that doesnít preclude the possibility a strong cell could form in the morning.That exact scenario occurred Thursday morning as T...
Published: 06/14/18
Forecast: Early taste of summer for Fatherís Day across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Early taste of summer for Fatherís Day across Tampa Bay

Summer officially starts one week from today, but the familiar summertime pattern is firmly intact across Tampa Bay.That means warm days, high humidity and a small chance for an isolated popup afternoon storm. In other words, a great opportunity to h...
Published: 06/14/18
Forecast: Hot days, scattered showers are still the rule across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Hot days, scattered showers are still the rule across Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay should continue seeing summer-like days through the rest of the week with sunny, partly cloudy skies and a chance for pop-up afternoon showers.A light westerly flow off the Gulf of Mexico will help push coastal breezes further inland, carry...
Published: 06/13/18