HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Residents in Hillsborough County are preparing as Tropical Storm Elsa approaches Tampa Bay.
The Emergency operation center in Hillsborough County said they've been preparing for Tropical storm Elsa for the past few days.
The County declared a local state of emergency Sunday. On Monday, they began distributing sandbags at three local parks.
Hillsborough residents who live in flood-prone areas can pick up sandbags at:
- 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
Sandbag distribution is happening from 8 am to 8 pm. Residents can take up to 10 sandbags but they must show an ID verifying that they live in Hillsborough County.
The EOC said public works and utility teams have also been taking steps to minimize flooding in the area.
“They’re checking all the ditches, any areas that may disrupt the flow of excess water. We’ve had a lot of rain here in the past couple of weeks,” said Timothy Dudley, Hillsborough County EOC Director.
While the path of Tropical Storm Elsa is ever-changing, hurricane hunters with NOAA are tasked with identifying its center, its strength and pressure.
“Somewhere around highway speed winds. Pretty fast, certainly not as fast as hurricanes can get. It is a tropical storm. We got some bumps around the storm as we flew through definitely an interesting day,” said James Carpenter, Flight Director NOOA Aircraft Operation Center.
The data collected then go to the National Hurricane Center for forecasting and models.
In case the storm strengthens, Hillsborough County has issued a local state of emergency through July 11. The county has not opened any shelters or issued any evacuation orders at this time.
EOC said this is the time for residents to go over their storm preparedness plans and disaster kits.