Sandbag filling locations open in advance of Tropical Storm Laura

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Leaders all over the Tampa Bay area are urging people to get ready for Tropical Storm Laura, even though it appears it could miss Florida.

In Pasco County, leaders put together an online video showing people how to properly fill sandbags.

The county has activated three locations where residents can pick up the bags: Pasco County Public Works C-Barn in San Antonio, Magnolia Valley Golf Course Clubhouse in New Port Richey and Pasco Fire Rescue Station 17 in New Port Richey.

“It’s gonna be a rain event for us,” said Andy Fossa, the county’s emergency management director. “Cause we’re gonna be on the east side of the storm, so it’s gonna push the rain up into us. There might be some surge in low-lying areas, but nothing we’re gonna be concerned about.”

Other counties, including Hernando and Highlands, have also opened sandbag locations.

“In preparation for Tropical Storm Laura, a limited supply of sand and sandbags will be available starting today, Friday, August 21 from noon to 5 p.m. as well as Saturday, August 22 and Sunday, August 23, 2020, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Linda Pedersen Park, located at 6300 Shoal Line Boulevard near Hernando Beach. Sandbag sites are self-serve only, please bring your own shovel. Limit 15 sandbags per vehicle,” Hernando County leaders said in an email to 8 On Your Side.

Officials around the area urge people to keep an eye on media and prepare a storm kit should anything happen with Laura.

“I feel like we don’t know what’s gonna happen and it could be the worst case scenario. So I feel like we’re preparing for the worst case scenario, but usually it isn’t the worst case scenario,” said Sarah Metchick, a South Tampa resident.

Some parts of South Tampa are prone to flooding, even during summertime thunderstorms.

Meantime, Fossa of Pasco County, tells 8 On Your Side they recently surveyed 1,800 residents. Sixty-percent said they would opt to stay with friends, family or at a hotel during a hurricane amid the COVID-19 situation.

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