TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa Mayor Jane Castor urged residents to be ready for whatever Tropical Storm Ian, soon to be Hurricane Ian, may throw at the city during a press conference Sunday.

Castor spoke at the MacFarlane Park Sandbag Distribution Site, one of the city’s three locations for residents to pick up sandbags for their homes starting at 9 a.m. Sunday.

With Ian projected to land somewhere in Florida, Castor and other local officials said they are making sure the city is ready for any potentially destructive impacts.

“The initial cone indicated that Tampa would be in the crosshairs of that storm,” Castor said. “Now as more data becomes available, it looks as if Ian may be trajecting a little more to the west, which would be beneficial to the Tampa Bay area. No doubt, we are going to feel the effects. Just how severe those effects (will be) remains to be seen.”

So far, the city has taken several measures to reduce any potential harm from Ian, including clearing out storm drains, taking inventory of the city’s fuel supply, and ensuring that all generators at city buildings have enough fuel to continue providing power during the storm.

“Our Emergency Management Team is closely monitoring developments with Tropical Storm Ian,” Castor said. “It takes a whole city approach to ensure the public safety of our residents, and that’s why I am so focused on preparing now for whatever path the storm may take. My goal is to continue to provide the up-most level of service to all our residents during times of emergency.”

The city has also urged residents to clear out any yard debris ahead of Ian to help prevent garbage from clogging drains and causing floods.

All city parks, community centers, and buildings have been secured, and anything that could fly off from the wind has been removed or tied down.

As previously mentioned, residents can get sandbags from three city locations:

  • Himes Avenue Complex – 4501 S. Himes Avenue, Tampa, FL 33611
  • Al Barnes Park – 2902 N. 32nd Street, Tampa, FL 33605
  • MacFarlane Park – 1700 N MacDill Avenue, Tampa, FL 33607 (Site between Maxwell and Renfrew)

There will be a limit of 10 sandbags per household.

Castor said that residents need to find out if they are in a flood zone and listen if there are any evacuation notices.

“I’ve been in my house for over 20 years on the Hillsborough River,” the mayor said. “I have never lived in a flood zone. Now I am in a flood zone so those maps have changed.

When it comes to new residents in Tampa, Castor had one major piece of advice: listen to the old-timers.

“Listen to the people who have been around,” she said. “Mother Nature wins every time.”