tropical storm eta Hurricane season

Hurricane Watch in Effect for Hillsborough County, Residents Urged to Make Preparations Now

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – Hillsborough County is now under a state of local emergency because of Hurricane Eta. No evacuations have been issued in Hillsborough County but the County will open five emergency storm shelters at 1 p.m. today for residents who are concerned for their safety.

The shelters are intended only for residents who are dependent on electricity for home medical needs, or who live in homes and manufactured housing that are susceptible to wind damage. Wherever possible, residents should consider other alternatives to a public shelter, such as staying with friends, family, or in a hotel.

The announcement is in response to a shift in the track and an intensification of Hurricane Eta. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Hillsborough County.

Now is the time for residents to finalize storm prep. Details on finalizing storm prep are listed below.

Transportation

Public transportation to a shelter should be a last resort option. If residents need transportation to a Hillsborough County shelter, please call (813) 272-5900 and arrangements will be made. Shelter Information

These shelters are available for residents:

  • Steinbrenner High School (pet-friendly), 5575 W. Lutz Lake Fern Road
  • Burnett Middle School (pet-friendly), 1010 N. Kingsway Road
  • Middleton High School, 4801 N. 22nd St.
  • Reddick Elementary School, 325 West Lake Drive
  • Sickles High School (pet-friendly) and Family Shelter, 7950 Gunn Highway

Because of COVID-19, health screenings and temperature checks will be conducted at the door. Face coverings will be required to be worn while inside. In addition to face coverings and hand sanitizer, residents should bring only essential items including the following:

  • Bedding
  • Clothing
  • Toiletries
  • Medications
  • Special dietary foods
  • Baby supplies
  • Important paperwork.
  • Cards, books, and games can help pass the time, especially for young children.

Residents bringing pets to a pet-friendly shelter must bring a sturdy carrier for each pet that allows room for the pet to stand up and move around, proof of current rabies vaccination and license for dogs and cats, and pet supplies including: food, water, litter, treats, cleaning supplies, and medications, etc. The pet must arrive on a leash or in a carrier.

EOC Status

Hillsborough County’s Emergency Operations Center has been activated since March 10 in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. County emergency officials and representatives of partner agencies are coordinating resources and operations to respond as necessary.

Actions Residents Should Take

  • Residents and visitors should continue to pay attention to weather forecasts and make decisions accordingly.
  • Finalize storm preparedness plans and disaster kit contents. Hillsborough County’s Disaster Preparedness Guide, accessed via HCFLGov.net/StaySafe, contains comprehensive information on how to prepare for any hazard.
  • Tropical storms can bring damaging winds and heavy rain even to areas that aren’t in a storm’s direct path. Finalize preparing your home by cleaning out gutters and drainpipes, trimming trees and hedges if needed, and securing or putting away loose objects such as outdoor furniture, birdbaths, and potted plants.
  • Know if you live in an evacuation zone. Visit HCFLGov.net/StaySafe for a link to Hillsborough County’s Hurricane Evacuation Assessment Tool (HEAT).
  • Register for HCFL Alert, Hillsborough County’s official public notification system for emergency and urgent alerts. To receive messages by email, phone, and text, go to HCFLGov.net/StaySafe.
  • Stay informed by following Hillsborough County on social media at Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor. Check HCFLGov.net/StaySafe regularly for updates.

Personal Safety

  • Avoid driving in high winds and heavy rains.
  • Don’t drive through moving or standing water. Water that is 2 feet deep can disable most vehicles.
  • Treat non-functioning traffic signals as a four-way stop.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and cables. Do not attempt to drive over or around lines; they may be live.
  • If power goes out, use flashlights and camping lights instead of candles.
  • Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed, or garage, even if doors and windows are open. Position generators outdoors far away from windows, doors, and vents. Read both the label on your generator and the owner’s manual and follow the instructions.
  • Avoid plugging emergency generators into electric outlets or hooking them directly to your home’s electrical system – they can feed electricity back into the power lines, putting you and line workers in danger.

Customer Call Center

Hillsborough County’s Customer Call Center will be open until 5 p.m. today. The telephone number is (813) 272-5900.

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