VALRICO, Fla. (WFLA) – Hillsborough County residents are preparing ahead of Hurricane Nicole as county leaders have declared a local state of emergency.

The local order gives the county more freedom to make important decisions needed during the weather event.

Valrico resident Brenda Elze’s home was seriously damaged during Hurricane Ian when a tree came down through the side of her house. She called a construction company to make some repairs ahead of Hurricane Nicole.

“I saw that another storm was coming, and I started calling around,” Elze said. “They showed up and they’ve got the wall up and getting debris up and will start trying to close this gap.”

Branching Out Construction told 8 On Your Side they’ve received several calls from worried homeowners like Elze wanting help storm-proofing their property.

“Right now, we are swamped,” said Joseph Reilly with Branching Out Construction.

Hillsborough County Emergency leaders encourage residents to secure outdoor items as strong winds are the biggest concern.

“Secure any lose debris, that might be around their home anything that can become a projectile during a wind event,” said Rob Herrin, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Public Information Officer.