TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is urging residents to monitor weather alerts ahead of Tropical Storm Nicole, which is expected to strengthen to hurricane status.
Castor spoke Tuesday on storm preparations at the unveiling of the East 7th Avenue Gateway Monument in Ybor City.
Nicole strengthened from a subtropical storm to a tropical storm as of a 10 a.m. report from the National Hurricane Center.
“We’ve done the usual. We’ve drained our stormwater drains. We’ve cleaned everything out. We have prepared for any potential flooding,” said Castor. “All of our city departments are on alert. We’ve filled all of our generators. We’ve done everything that we can to prepare for the worst and we are ready as a city.”
The mayor said the city handed out 100,000 sandbags for Hurricane Ian and many residents should have them at their homes if they are needed. Castor doesn’t anticipate that people will need them this time around.
“As a city, we are prepared for whatever Nicole may bring our way,” Castor said.
Nicole is expected to be near or at hurricane strength when it approaches Florida’s east coast late Wednesday into Thursday morning, the center said.
“Anything could happen, as it comes across land, it usually loses some of that momentum, and we won’t have to worry about a storm surge coming in,” Castor added.
“Tropical Storm Watches [are] now extend across the entire Tampa Bay area,” said Storm Team 8 Meteorologist Leigh Spann. “Tropical storm force winds [are] expected within 48 hours as Nicole heads northwest through the state Thursday.”
The City of Tampa is encouraging residents to sign-up for AlertTampa, which provides emergency notifications and additional resources offered by the city.