Tampa Bay area residents need to get hurricane plans in place while skies still blue

Hurricane Irma

ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – Pastor Joe Brockman pointed to his living room ceiling. 

“Right here, major water leak,” he told News Channel 8.

When Brockman and his wife, Rhonda, moved to St. Pete Beach, they expected sandy beaches and palm trees, not blue tarps covering part of their roof and water gushing through their ceilings.

Almost exactly a year ago, Hurricane Hermine’s winds damaged the Brockman’s tile roof. For 10 months, when it rains, it pours inside their house in several spots.

The couple has placed buckets to catch the water. Now, Hurricane Irma is threatening.

“Game plan: We’re keeping the boat out there handy because, Houston, you see what happened there,” said Joe, as he motioned to his pontoon boat at the side of his house.

The Brockmans are in the middle of a dispute over repairs to their home. So their place is vulnerable, with the Gulf on one side, the Intracoastal on the other and the potential for high winds and flooding rains.

“When you’re having a bad experience already, you’re kind of like, ‘okay, what’s gonna happen with this one?’” asked Rhonda.

If Irma hits, they are prepared.

“I’ve got a generator. I’ve got all our supplies. I’ve got everything ready, flashlights, radios, I’ve got a ship to shore radio. I’m ready to face it,” said Joe.

Emergency planners warn, make your preps before the winds blow, while the skies are still blue.

“If they say ‘go,’ it’s time to go,” said Rhonda.

“If it looks like it’s gonna be a Category 4 and stronger than that, I’m gone,” said Joe.

Now is a good time to check your emergency kit and make sure you have things like, batteries, water, flashlights, important documents and medicines. Get it all together so there’s not a mad rush.

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