PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Many shops and restaurants in Tarpon Springs plan to open for the first part of Tuesday as the final preparations take place ahead of Idalia.

However, many business owners are concerned about the storm surge and possible flooding.

Tidal flooding has been a long-standing issue in Tarpon Springs and city officials are working on a long-term solution. In July, the City Board of Commissioners awarded a construction contract through which the intersection will be raised to help reduce flooding ton South Spring Boulevard and West Martin Luther King Jr. Drive near Whitcomb Bayou.

The contractor is currently working through materials approvals and orders. Construction is expected to begin later this year to avoid the peak of hurricane season, since construction will require closing this important intersection for two to three months.

In the meantime, several business owners are finding their own ways to prepare for the storm.

“The streets flood naturally from the tides and rain,” said Patti Bryant, owner of Wine at the Docks. “Fingers crossed that we don’t have that flooding, but if it does hit, we could be very prone for a lot of water.”

Across the street, Stratos Rigas is taking on the familiar task of storm preparation at The Lighthouse Shoppes. Rigas has been an eyewitness to Pinellas County’s most-powerful storms over the decades.

“We live on the water,” Rigas said. “So I watched it literally come from the edge where the dock was into the backyard in a matter of 15 to 20 minutes. It was like a wave had come in and pushed this water inland.”

The City of Tarpon Springs has three sandbag locations available.

  • Historic Sponge Docks
  • Tarpon Springs Splash Park
  • Dorsett Park

Watch WFLA Now’s 24/7 coverage to stay up-to-date on Idalia. Get the latest on closings and weather conditions in your area on our Tracking the Tropics page.