MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa Bay area business owners say they are watching a tropical wave headed for the Gulf of Mexico next week.
The owner of Hubbard’s Marina in Johns Pass says he knows not to let his guard down later in the hurricane season.
“We have lot of family history with these tropical systems, so we have a really good plan in place,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard told News Channel 8 later season tropical storms are more worrisome for his family’s business of nearly 100 years.
“Now we’ve had all summer long to heat the Gulf, to heat the Caribbean and they’ve got a lot of the ocean heat content,” Hubbard said. “It’s not just sea surface temperatures being high. We have a lot of warm deep water and that gets pulled up into the storms and really fuels them.”
Hubbard said he is tracking the forecast models showing a tropical wave is expected to strengthen as it drifts toward the Gulf next week.
“If a storm comes close at a certain direction like if it makes landfall north of us, we know we’re gonna get a lot of water and we got to prepare for that,” he said. “If its south of us, we’re gonna lose water we got to prepare for that.”
Two years ago in November, there was no dry land in Johns Pass after the flooding from Tropical Storm Eta.
“Eta was crazy man,” Hubbard said. “Where we are standing right now we had about 3-4 feet of water and this dock actually came disconnected from the pilings underneath it.”
Hubbard said boat owners should start coming up with a plan now in case the tropical wave becomes the hurricane season’s first storm to threaten Tampa Bay.
“Any smaller boats that are trailerable, it is a good idea to start getting them on a trailer and start preparing for the worst because the longer you wait, the closer it gets to the storm, the more chaotic it will be and the harder it will be to find a safe spot,” he said.
Florida Division of Emergency Management officials are reminding families to stay prepared with a disaster plan this hurricane season. They say it is important for to know if you live in an evacuation zone in a flood prone area.