TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — If you use one of Tampa Bay’s bridges to get around the area, you may wonder if the bridges will close as Hurricane Idalia approaches Florida.
The only bridge to likely close due to a strong storm is the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Typically, when wind gusts top approximately 20 mph, a “high wind advisory” is issued for the Skyway.
Florida Department of Transportation officials have said in the past that the Skyway’s height is the biggest factor for closing down during high-speed winds.
If winds get over speeds of 40 miles per hour, “the extreme height at the top” makes it necessary to close the bridge down during a hurricane or tropical storm.
The Howard Frankland, Gandy and Courtney Campbell Causeway bridges will not close unless they are deemed unsafe.
One of the concerns for the low-lying bridges is water. Exceptionally choppy water, combined with gusting winds, often sends water onto the bridges, making them unsafe for drivers.
Several agencies will be consulted before a decision is made to close any of the bridges.
Drivers can download the FL511 app for real-time traffic information. FDOT also recommends filling your gas tank up or charging electric vehicles before the storm hits. Drivers should also stock vehicles with emergency supplies like snacks, water, first aid kits, batteries, and flashlights.