Tropical Storm Idalia organized near Mexico’s Yucatán Channel Sunday — and forecasters say Floridians should be paying attention and ensuring their hurricane plan is in place.
Some Tampa Bay area governments are offering sandbag stations this weekend ahead of a storm system expected to become Hurricane Idalia — pronounced “ee-DAL-ya” — in the coming days.
Officials note that while sand bags can be an effective tool to prevent minor water intrusion, they do not stop storm surge or major flooding.
The city of St. Petersburg is operating a free sandbag station five days per week year-round at the Pavement and Traffic Operations Building, located at 1744 9th Ave. N. Eying the possibility of Idalia, the city is expanding its hours, staying open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday and Monday in anticipation of the potential storm.
The following locations will have self-service sandbags available:
- Lake Vista Recreation Center, tennis court parking lot, 12th Street S and 60th Avenue S
- Lakewood sports complex parking lot, 2001 Country Club Way S
- Grandview Park, 3734 6th St. S
- Childs Park, pool parking lot, 1227 43rd St. S
- Campbell Park, shelter area parking lot, 1360 5th Ave. S
- Azalea Park, athletic fields parking lot, 1600 72nd St. N
- Walter Fuller Park, soccer field parking lot, 2800 75th St. N
- Garden Club of St. Petersburg, 500 Sunset Drive S
The following full-service locations will have city staff available to fill sandbags between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday and Monday:
- Northeast Park, 955 62nd Ave. NE
- Lake Maggiore Park, 3601 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. S
- Northwest Pool, 2331 60th St. N
Residents can take home up to 10 free sandbags. They must provide proof of residence to officials at the site. Staff members will assist seniors and others who are unable to fill and load their sandbags.
Pinellas County is opening sandbag distribution locations for unincorporated residents Monday. Up to 10 sandbags will be available per vehicle while supplies last from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Residents will be required to show identification for proof of residency. Sand, bags and shovels will be provided. Residents will fill their own bags.
The parks will be closed Monday with the exception of sandbag operations.
The city of Clearwater will have sand bags available Monday at the Joe DiMaggio Complex, 2450 Drew St., starting at 9 a.m. and going as long as supplies last. Residents should bring their own shovels. It is a self-serve station, but staff will be on hand from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. for those who need assistance.
In the city of Dunedin, sandbags will be available Monday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Highlander Park parking lot, 903 Michigan Blvd.
The sandbag site is available to City of Dunedin residents and business owners with proof of residency. Up to 15 bags per resident or business owner. Sand, sandbags and shovels are available at the site.
The city of Tampa has activated three sandbag distribution sites Sunday, which will be open from 8 a.m. to noon for seniors and residents with special needs, and from noon for the general public. The locations are:
- Himes Avenue Complex, 4501 S. Himes Avenue
- Al Barnes Park, 2902 N. 32nd Street
- MacFarlane Park, 1700 N MacDill Avenue
Residents interested in receiving sandbags must show identification verifying residence within the city limits. A valid driver’s license, utility bill or electric bill will serve as appropriate identification. There is a 10-bag limit. The sites will be open daily from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. until further notice.
Hillsborough County has not yet posted about sandbag sites yet, but updates can be found on their website.
Pasco County offers two self-serve sandbag stations that are open 24 hours a day all week long, according to a county news release. The sites are located at the Pasco County Public Works (C-Barn), 30908 Warder Road in San Antonio, and the Magnolia Valley Golf Course, 7223 Massachusetts Ave. in New Port Richey. Residents must bring their own shovels.
In anticipation of heavy rain, the county is sharing an additional sandbag location on behalf of Dade City at the former Dade City Police Department building, 38042 Pasco Ave. Officials ask residents to please bring a shovel and be prepared to fill your own sandbags.