Editor’s note: Elsa was upgraded to a hurricane on Friday morning. Click here for latest updates.
HUDSON, Fla. (WFLA) – Emergency management officials across Tampa Bay are keeping a close eye on the projected path of Tropical Storm Elsa.
“We’ve been closely monitoring Elsa even before she was a named tropical storm,” said Laura Wilcoxen, the interim emergency management director in Pasco County.
WIlcoxen told 8 On Your Side this early July tropical storm is a reminder to start preparing for hurricane season now. Pasco County is distributing 50,000 copies of its 2021 Hurricane Disaster Preparedness Guide.
Now is the time for Pasco residents to review evacuation zones, Wilcoxen said.
“Really looking at the storm surge that we could experience around the coast, that is our highest hazard, vulnerability for storm surge,” she said, showing 8 On Your Side the map in the disaster preparedness guide.
While it is still too early to tell whether Elsa’s storm clouds will roll over Pasco County, Wilcoxen said proactive preparations are underway.
“We’ve been really working on our pump deployments to make sure any areas that we know of prone flooding that they already have pumps out there in place,” she said.
At Hudson Do It Best Hardware, weather alert radios, flashlights and other critical supplies to help protect property can be found in the store.
“Lots of nails, screws and anything to board down windows,” said store employee Cindy Pierce.
Pierce said this season you may notice higher prices, especially in the wood aisle of hardware stores.
“Our two-by-fours are right here, these are the ones that I mentioned almost triple the price then the last two years,” she said. “I think part of the reason is because of the pandemic. Everything shutting down, trying to get production back into place.”
Even if Tampa Bay avoids severe weather from Elsa, Pasco’s top emergency management official said she encourages people to stock up sooner rather than later.
“There’s still so much uncertainty with this storm track,” Wilcoxen said. “But because it is the holiday weekend, now is a great time people start preparing go out and get your disaster guide, start making sure that you have your kit.”