NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - In Pasco County, they know the routine all too well. Many people have dealt with flooding in recent years, from Tropical Storm Debby in 2012 to Hurricane Hermine last year.
“Bring help when you shovel,” said one woman filling up sandbags at the West Pasco Government Center.
Richard Sharp also loaded up sandbags for his home in Port Richey.
“I’m here to prepare for my family.”
He said during last year’s storms flooding cost him $5,000 worth of furniture.
“I don’t want to go through it this year.”
Pasco County Commissioners gathered Monday morning to pass a local emergency declaration. That allows officials to spend whatever is needed to protect people and property.
Plans are in the works to use pumps in flood prone areas to clear the way for more water.
Irma’s path is still uncertain, but they have to act as if a direct hit is still possible.
“Things with this storm can change. We saw it last night. Between the 2 a.m. update and the 5 a.m. update. Just three hours saw a shift in that storm over 60 miles,” said Assistant County Administrator Kevin Guthrie.
Richard is watching Irma closely.
“If it comes towards us we are screwed. We are done.”
And after he finished securing his own house. He helped a neighbor who’s recovering from a stroke.
No one knows what this hurricane has planned, but they do know what to do to get ready for it.
Pasco County schools are closed Friday, to allow some to be used as shelters for locals or those fleeing South Florida. They could be closed Monday too, but that decision will be made over the weekend.