TAMPA — Tropical Storm Nicole has caused minimal damage in Tampa so far, city officials announced during a Thursday morning news conference.
As of 11:30 a.m., there had been seven reports of trees down, seven reports of traffic signals down and eight reports of power lines down. Officials urged residents to stay off the roads — if they can — and to watch out for street flooding and downed power lines.
Flooding is not expected to be a major problem, Mayor Jane Castor said, though it could cause minor issues around high tide this afternoon.
“Things are going well,” Castor said. “Tomorrow is back to business.”
Castor said she was unaware of any storm-related injuries. The city has recorded about two inches of rain and wind gusts between 25 and 40 mph, she said.
“Nothing extraordinary,” the mayor said.
First responders, including police, continue to respond to calls. They said residents should set up generators outside and treat intersections with downed traffic lights as four-way stops.
Tampa Electric Co. was reporting close to 20,000 customers without power as of 11:30 a.m. The company reported scattered outages in Hillsborough, Pasco and Polk counties, with large areas without power in Town N’ Country, South Tampa, Tampa Heights, Brandon and Gibsonton.
Before the tropical storm hit, Tampa had cleaned up over 90% of Hurricane Ian debris, Castor said. “We have been very fortunate,” she said. “We haven’t taken that direct hit for 100 years, but we continue to prepare.”
Tropical Storm Nicole maxed out with estimated 75 mph winds at the time of landfall on Florida’s east coast as a Category 1 hurricane about 3 a.m., according to the National Hurricane Center. It has since weakened as it continues its trek across the Florida peninsula.
Gov. Ron DeSantis warned early Thursday that residents across the state should expect tropical storm-force winds, heavy rain and potential tornadoes.
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2022 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide
IT'S STORM SEASON: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane.
FORECAST: The ‘cone of uncertainty’ can be confusing. Here’s how to read it.
MODELS: How reliable are hurricane models? Hurricane Ian gave us some answers.
EVACUATIONS: Fewer evacuated to shelters during Hurricane Ian. How can Tampa Bay stay safe?
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.
PREPARING FOR A HURRICANE: Make a plan, listen to experts, and know there’s help available if you need it.
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.
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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.