1. Hurricane

Latest on Hurricane Dorian preparations: Hillsborough County

Do you live in Hillsborough County? Here’s what you need to know about Hurricane Dorian.
Sharon Weiss of Tampa purchases propane in preparation for Hurricane Dorian Thursday in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published Aug. 30
Updated Aug. 30

More from Thursday’s list

Schools to close Tuesday

Hillsborough County Public Schools will close school on Tuesday in the likelihood of the buildings being used as shelters.

The district made the decision based on the potential for dangerous weather conditions, heavy rain and high winds that would prevent school buses from operating.

A decision about Wednesday’s classes and activities will be made as the path of the storm becomes moroe clear.

Updates can be found at and on the district’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Sand bags and advice from emergency center

Tips from the center’s latest news release:

Have an emergency plan.

Know your evacuation zone.

Prepare a 7-day supply of nonperishables and water for you and your family

Inventory your hurricane supplies and make final purchases of provisions that can last through a prolonged power outage.

Each family should have food, water, and medicine for seven days. This includes one gallon of water per person per day. Restock prescriptions if needed.

Each hurricane kit should include flashlights or battery-powered lanterns, manual can openers and a first aid kid.

Secure your home. Remove or securely anchor outdoor items that could become projectiles.

Make an emergency supply kit for your pets.

Organize important documents such as passports, insurance information, bank and credit card information, prescriptions and medical records into a portable container that is waterproof.

Links to all of this information and more can be found at


Sandbags are available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at the following locations:

Edward Medard Conservation Park, 6140 Turkey Creek Road, Plant City; E.G. Simmons Conservation Park, 2401 19th Ave. NW, Ruskin; Ed Radice Park, 14720 Ed Radice Drive, Tampa.

Hillsborough County residents are eligible for a maximum of 10 sandbags per family. Residents must show ID verifying they live in the county; a drivers license or utility bill will serve as proper identification.

Residents can call (813) 272-5900 to request additional information or visit


Hillsborough County’s conservation parks and preserves are closed through Labor Day. The closure frees up about 150 county employees to help with sandbagging efforts.

The Pet Resource Center is closed through Labor Day.

Hillsborough County’s Customer Call Center has extended hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Residents can call (813) 272-5900.

Library cancels passport application

Hillsborough libraries accept applications for U.S. passports on an appointment basis, but appointments scheduled for Saturday and Sunday have been canceled so staff can help the Hillsborough County Emergency Operations Center.

Call (813) 273-3652 after the storm to reschedule an appointment.

HART offers free rides to shelters

In the event emergency shelters are opened in Hillsborough County, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit will offer free rides on special evacuation routes.

The agency encouraged people who might need this service to find the right route for them and make plans before they need to leave.

Temple Terrace distributing sand bags

An emergency meeting of the Temple Terrace mayor and City Council will be held at 4 p.m. today to declare a state of local emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian.

The city also will make sandbags available to city residents beginning at noon today at the Sports Complex, 10369 U.S. 301.

The station will be open until 7 p.m. and distribution will resume on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The sandbags are reserved for residents of Temple Terrace who must show a valid ID or recent utility bill that includes a Temple Terrace address.

The station will be self-service with bags, shovels and sand provided. Assistance is available for older people and those with disabilities. There is a limit of 10 sandbags per vehicle.

Companies prepared to collect scooters

The four scooter companies that launched in Tampa this summer are prepared to round up all scooters if a hurricane watch is issued for the area.

Bird, Lime, Spin and Jump sent their hurricane preparedness plans to the city by Thursday, which include moving the scooters to secure buildings.

The operating agreement between the city and companies requires the companies pick up all vehicles located in the city within 12 hours of a hurricane watch being issued for Tampa Bay. The city can also choose to make that request earlier, according to the agreement.

The city of Miami already requested its electric scooter companies to pick up their vehicles by noon today.

The fear is that the dockless scooters, which are left haphazardly around streets and sidewalks, could turn into projectiles during a storm.

“Bird has a team who monitors the weather in all of our cities in order to be sure our scooters are not nested if the weather would be unsafe for our riders or others in the community,” Bird representative Servando Esparza wrote to the city of Tampa on Wednesday.

County declares local state of emergency

The Emergency Policy Group Thursday declared a local state of emergency for Hillsborough County, enabling the county administrator to carry out emergency responsibilities including opening shelters and ordering evacuations if necessary.

The order also prevents local businesses, vendors, merchants, and any other persons operating a retail business from charging more than the normal average retail price.

The County has partially activated its Emergency Operations Center to allow county and partner agencies to better monitor the storm track, and to coordinate resources and operations among partner organizations.

Full activation was expected on Saturday.

The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group is made up of three county commissioners, the mayors from the cities of Plant City, Tampa, and Temple Terrace, and the sheriff.

To receive messages by email, phone, and text, and to stay informed on the latest Dorian response by Hillsborough County government, go to

2019 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide

HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE: Get ready and stay informed at

PREPARE YOUR STUFF: Get your documents and your data ready for a storm

BUILD YOUR KIT: The stuff you’ll need to stay safe — and comfortable — for the storm

PROTECT YOUR PETS: Your pets can’t get ready for a storm. That’s your job

NEED TO KNOW: Click here to find your evacuation zone and shelter

What Michael taught the Panhandle and Tampa Bay

What the Panhandle’s top emergency officials learned from Michael

‘We’re not going to give up.’ What a school superintendent learned from Michael

What Tampa Bay school leaders fear most from a storm

Tampa Bay’s top cops fear for those who stay behind


  1. This satellite image shows Hurricane Michael on Oct. 9, 2018, as it enters the Gulf of Mexico. It made landfall near Mexico Beach in the Panhandle as a Category 5 storm. Florida State University professor Wenyuan Fan said the storm probably created "stormquakes" offshore in the gulf, too. [Photo courtesy of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration]] NOAA
    Analysis of a decade of records shows hurricanes causing seismic activity on continental shelf
  2. Tropical depression 15 has formed in the eastern Atlantic. National Weather Service
    The newly formed system joins a tropical wave off the coast of South America.
  3. Peggy Wood, center, attends a community announcement with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, right, in Mexico Beach in September. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The Wood family presses forward with plans to rebuild the Driftwood Inn amid a changing town.
  4.  Mexico Beach, one year anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Michael. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    One year later, Mexico Beach is still recovering from the Category 5 storm.
  5. Meteorologists are keeping watch on a system in the mid-Atlantic that could develop into a tropical storm sometime in the next two days. A system off the eastern coast of Florida will bring heavy rainfall to the state before moving to the east, north of the Bahamas. National Weather Service
    While the chance of further development is low, the system will bring heavy rains to the state.
  6. The National Hurricane center National Hurricane Service
    The system poses no threat to Florida.
  7. The endangered torreya tree at the Gregory House at Torreya State Park north of Bristol. Special to the Times
    The storm had some unintended — and devastating — consequences for a small but mighty endangered tree.
  8. In this Sept. 16, 2019 photo, Remelda Thomas bows her head in prayer in her home in McLean's Town Cay, Grand Bahamas Island, Bahamas. Thomas said she lost eight family members in the storm. While sleeping one night after the storm the wind was blowing and the tarp over the hole in her roof was snapping and it brought back the fear from Hurricane Dorian. CHRIS DAY  |  AP
    Dorian mustered massive strength over warm waters and lashed the Bahamas for almost 40 hours. The ocean roared ashore and swelled 20 feet high.
  9. Siesta Key Oyster Bar pulled $15,000 off its walls to help aid victims of Hurricane Dorian. Facebook
    Siesta Key Oyster Bar also joined three other Siesta Key Village businesses in raising another $10,000 during a separate fundraiser.
  10. Oct. 2• Hurricane
    Hurricane Lorenzo is expected to begin impacting Ireland in the next 24 hours. Forecasters estimate that the British Isles could see 90 mile-per-hour winds. National Weather Service
    The latest forecast shows strong winds are on the way for the British Isles.