PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Subtropical Storm Nicole is swirling off the Atlantic Coast and heading toward the Tampa Bay area by mid-week. Forecasters say the storm should not impact voters on Election Day.
The National Weather Service said Nicole could reach hurricane intensity on Wednesday, and residents said — while they don’t plan to evacuate — they are keeping an eye on the storm.
Category 4 Hurricane Ian brought destruction to southwest Florida over a month ago, all eyes are now on Nicole.
Pinellas County said its monitoring the storm’s track. The county’s Public Works is checking and preparing the county’s stormwater drainage system to reduce the risk of flooding.
“(We’re) Doing what we always do. We are watching and kind of waiting a little bit,” said Tammy Vasquez, a Treasure Island resident.
Vasquez said she evacuated during Ian and came home to downed tree limbs. Vasquez owns Bark Life in Seminole.
“It’s a doggy daycare and boarding so we have tarps over our outdoor play yard so we’re taking those down tomorrow in preparation,” Vasquez said.
WFLA meteorologists said there will be lower than normal high tides, up to 40 mph winds starting on Wednesday night, and rounds of tropical gusty downpours in Pinellas County.
“We always have an evacuation plan in case we have to leave last minute we actually evacuate to our business,” she said.
With the potential of Nicole strengthening into a hurricane, Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a State of Emergency in 34 counties, including some in the Tampa Bay area.
“This late in the year is crazy but it’s so warm. It’s not that surprising,” said Vasquez