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Monday, October 18, 2021

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Hurricane Watch issued for coastal counties including Pinellas

A Hurricane Watch has been issued for Coastal Citrus, Coastal Hernando, Coastal Hillsborough, Coastal Levy, Coastal Manatee, Coastal Pasco, and Pinellas

Tropical Storm Eta is located about 180 miles southwest of Fort Myers FL
– 25.0N 84.1W
– Storm Intensity 70 mph
– Movement North or 10 degrees at 12 mph

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A Florida landfall from Tropical Storm Eta is now imminent. As Eta moves northward just off the coast, the threat for tropical storm force winds, localized flash flooding, storm surge, hazardous marine conditions, and isolated tornadoes will all be possible. There is also a chance that Eta will briefly strengthen to a hurricane and hurricane force winds may be felt along the coast north of Anna Maria Island. For this reason, a Hurricane Watch is now in effect. Nevertheless, the greatest impacts will be felt along all of our coastline and north of the Interstate 4 corridor as the system approaches the Nature Coast by Thursday night.

POTENTIAL IMPACTS
—————–

* WIND:
Protect against life-threatening wind having possible extensive impacts across coastal areas north of Anna Maria Island. Potential impacts in this area include:
– Considerable roof damage to sturdy buildings, with some having window, door, and garage door failures leading to structural
damage. Mobile homes severely damaged, with some destroyed. Damage accentuated by airborne projectiles. Locations may be uninhabitable for weeks.
– Many large trees snapped or uprooted along with fences and roadway signs blown over.
– Some roads impassable from large debris, and more within urban or heavily wooded places. Several bridges, causeways, and access routes impassable.
– Large areas with power and communications outages.

Also, protect against dangerous wind having possible limited to significant impacts across the rest of West Central and Southwest Florida.

* SURGE:
Protect against life-threatening surge having possible significant impacts across all of West Central and Southwest Florida. Potential impacts in this area include:
– Areas of inundation with storm surge flooding accentuated by waves. Damage to several buildings, mainly near the coast.
– Sections of near-shore escape routes and secondary roads become weakened or washed out, especially in usually vulnerable low spots.
– Major beach erosion with heavy surf breaching dunes. Strong and numerous rip currents.
– Moderate damage to marinas, docks, boardwalks, and piers. Several small craft broken away from moorings, especially in unprotected anchorages.

* FLOODING RAIN:
Protect against dangerous rainfall flooding having possible significant impacts across the I-75 corridor south of Hernando county. Potential impacts include:
– Moderate rainfall flooding may prompt several evacuations and rescues.
– Rivers and tributaries may quickly become swollen with swifter currents and overspill their banks in a few places, especially in usually vulnerable spots. Small streams, creeks, canals, and ditches overflow.
– Flood waters can enter some structures or weaken foundations.
Several places may experience expanded areas of rapid inundation at underpasses, low-lying spots, and poor drainage
areas. Some streets and parking lots take on moving water as storm drains and retention ponds overflow. Driving conditions become hazardous. Some road and bridge closures.

Protect against locally hazardous rainfall flooding having possible limited impacts across elsewhere across West Central and Southwest Florida.

* TORNADOES:
Protect against a tornado event having possible limited impacts across West Central and Southwest Florida. Potential impacts include:
– The occurrence of isolated tornadoes can hinder the execution of emergency plans during tropical events.
– A few places may experience tornado damage, along with power and communications disruptions.
– Locations could realize roofs peeled off buildings, chimneys toppled, mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned,
large tree tops and branches snapped off, shallow-rooted trees knocked over, moving vehicles blown off roads, and small boats pulled from moorings.

* OTHER COASTAL HAZARDS:
Dangerous surf and rip currents are expected the next couple of days along with the likelihood of significant beach erosion. It is strongly advised to avoid the beaches until Eta moves out of Florida.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS

* EVACUATIONS: Listen to local official for recommended preparedness actions, including possible evacuation. If ordered to evacuate, do so immediately.

For those not under evacuation orders, assess the risk from wind, falling trees, and flooding at your location. If you decide to move, relocate to a safer location nearby. If you do not relocate, help keep roadways open for those under evacuation orders.

If evacuating, leave with a destination in mind and allow extra time to get there. Take your emergency supplies kit. Gas up your vehicle ahead of time.

Let others know where you are going prior to departure. Secure loose items and pets in the car, and avoid distracted driving.

* OTHER PREPAREDNESS INFORMATION:
Now is the time to complete all preparations to protect life and property in accordance with your emergency plan. Ensure you are in a safe location before the onset of strong winds or possible flooding.

If you are relocating to safe shelter, leave as early as possible. Allow extra time to reach your destination. Many roads and bridges will be closed once strong winds arrive. Check the latest weather forecast before departing and drive with caution.

If heading to a community shelter, become familiar with the shelter rules before arrival, especially if you have special needs or have pets. Take essential items with you from your Emergency Supplies Kit.

Failure to adequately shelter may result in serious injury or loss of life. Always heed the advice of local officials and comply with any
orders that are issued. Remember, during the storm 9 1 1 Emergency Services may not be able to immediately respond if conditions are unsafe. This should be a big factor in your decision making.

Keep cell phones well charged. Cell phone chargers for automobiles can be helpful, but be aware of your risk for deadly carbon monoxide poisoning if your car is left idling in a garage or other poorly ventilated area.

It is important to remain calm, informed, and focused during an emergency. Be patient and helpful with those you encounter.

If you are a visitor, be sure to know the name of the city or town in which you are staying and the name of the county or parish in which it resides. Listen for these locations in local news updates. Pay attention for instructions from local authorities.

Storm surge is the leading killer associated with tropical storms and hurricanes! Make sure you are in a safe area away from the surge zone. Even if you are not in a surge-prone area, you could find yourself cutoff by flood waters during and after the storm. Heed evacuation orders issued by the local authorities.

Rapidly rising flood waters are deadly. If you are in a flood-prone area, consider moving to higher ground. Never drive through a flooded roadway. Remember, turn around don’t drown!

If a Tornado Warning is issued for your area, be ready to shelter quickly, preferably away from windows and in an interior room not
prone to flooding. If driving, scan the roadside for quick shelter options.

If in a place that is vulnerable to high wind, such as near large trees, a manufactured home, upper floors of a high-rise building, or
on a boat, consider moving to a safer shelter before the onset of strong winds or flooding.

Closely monitor weather.gov, NOAA Weather radio or local news outlets for official storm information. Be ready to adapt to possible changes to the forecast. Ensure you have multiple ways to receive weather warnings.

The next local statement will be issued by the National Weather Service in Tampa Bay Ruskin FL around 10 AM EST, or sooner if
conditions warrant.


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