TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Hillsborough County declared a local state of emergency Thursday, allowing for agencies to carry out plans ahead of Hurricane Dorian.
“What we're doing now, we're just planning for the worst-case scenario,” said Tim Dudley, the Hillsborough County Emergency Management director.
The Hillsborough County Emergency Operations Center is currently in partial activation, but go into full operations mode on Saturday. High winds and flooding are major concerns for Tampa Bay, and law enforcement agencies are getting equipment ready for potential rescues.
“Our high water vehicles, we already started placing them in areas where we know the ground is already saturated,” said Hillsborough Coutny Sheriff Chad Chronister.
On Thursday, emergency management officials detailed how they are preparing as they urged local residents to prepare for their families.
“They go out clearing ditches, making sure that those low-lying areas where we normally have those issues that we're clearing those things out ahead of time,” said Dudley.
Sandbag locations are also open. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said on Twitter that the city clocked over 13,000 bags made Thursday. She said the city is also ready for any potential evacuees from the east coast.
“It is a concern, but we're all Floridians. So, we will receive anyone who needs to get out of the path of the storm,” said Castor.
LINK: Track Dorian on MyFoxHurricane.com
And if any Hillsborough County residents have to evacuate, county leaders urge you to know your zone.
“People don't have to evacuate hundreds of miles. The better option is to look for something closer,” said Mike Merrill, the Hillsborough County administrator.
Emergency management officials say they have new equipment to assess any potential damage from Hurricane Dorian.
You can sign up for HCFL Alert by texting “Stay Safe” to 888777 to receive county updates, and you can sign up for Alert Tampa by visiting tampagov.net or texting “Tampa Ready” to 888777. The Hillsborough County Emergency Operations Center phone line at 813-272-5900 will be available to help with reports of street flooding or power outages.