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St. Petersburg crews will assess damage Thursday ‘at first daybreak,’ mayor says

Mayor Ken Welch urged residents to shelter in place as the worst of Hurricane Ian arrived Wednesday evening.
Duke Energy trucks were staged the parking lot at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg in preparation for Hurricane Ian on Wednesday.
Duke Energy trucks were staged the parking lot at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg in preparation for Hurricane Ian on Wednesday. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Sep. 28|Updated Sep. 29

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Ken Welch said St. Petersburg police, firefighters and other city employees will assess the damage from Hurricane Ian Thursday morning “at first daybreak.”

Mayor Ken Welch is encouraging city residents to stay inside as the worst of Hurricane Ian's expected winds were arriving Wednesday evening.
Mayor Ken Welch is encouraging city residents to stay inside as the worst of Hurricane Ian's expected winds were arriving Wednesday evening. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]

He urged residents to stay inside as St. Petersburg was expected to feel the “worst parts” of the near Category 5 storm from 5 p.m. Wednesday through midnight.

“We will experience tropical storm force winds and rainfall,” Welch said. “And we’re experiencing power outages throughout the city of St. Petersburg.”

Crews Thursday morning will look for fallen trees and downed power lines. That work will make it easier for Duke Energy to begin restoring power. A fleet of Duke Energy trucks was parked outside Tropicana Field.

As of Wednesday evening, 100 police officers are being sent out to patrol the city and report damage or obstructed roadways, according to spokesperson Yolanda Fernandez.

The city has 12 “push teams,” she said spokesperson Yolanda Fernandez, standing by at fire stations and two hospitals to head-out Thursday morning to formally assess damage and clear roads. The teams are now on standby to go out with fire rescue crews if they have priority calls to make sure the route is clear.

The city also has 12 National Guardsmen and two boats from the Pinellas Sheriff’s Office on hand, Fernandez said.

Several trees are down, but the city has no official damage reports, she said.

• • •

2022 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide

ROAD CLOSURES: What to know about bridges, roads as Hurricane Ian approaches.

HOW TO TALK TO KIDS ABOUT THE HURRICANE: A school mental health expert says to let them know what’s happening, keep a routine and stay calm.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN A SHELTER: What to bring — and not bring — plus information on pets, keeping it civil and more.

WHAT TO DO IF HURRICANE DAMAGES YOUR HOME: Stay calm, then call your insurance company.

SAFEGUARD YOUR HOME: Storms and property damage go hand in hand. Here’s how to prepare.

IT'S STORM SEASON: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane.

RISING THREAT: Tampa Bay will flood. Here's how to get ready.

DOUBLE-CHECK: Checklists for building all kinds of hurricane kits

PHONE IT IN: Use your smartphone to protect your data, documents and photos.

SELF-CARE: Protect your mental health during a hurricane.

• • •

Rising Threat: A special report on flood risk and climate change

PART 1: The Tampa Bay Times partnered with the National Hurricane Center for a revealing look at future storms.

PART 2: Even weak hurricanes can cause huge storm surges. Experts say people don't understand the risk.

PART 3: Tampa Bay has huge flood risk. What should we do about it?

INTERACTIVE MAP: Search your Tampa Bay neighborhood to see the hurricane flood risk.

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