Hurricane Dorian is headed this way and gaining traction. As of press time, the storm was estimated to potentially evolve into a Category 3 hurricane by Sunday morning.
Hurricane Dorian is continuing to strengthen and Plant City is bracing itself for the impact.
The storm could reach a Category 3 status by Sunday morning, according to the latest National Hurricane Center calls that came in right before press time. The forecast showed the storm would make landfall along the Florida coast. The current estimation is the storm will remain a Category 1 hurricane by Friday evening as it edges the Bahamas and could make Category 3 by the time it comes ashore in Florida at the start of the week.
All of Florida is on alert and Governor Ron DeSantis urges residents to make the effort to get supplies and have proper plans in place in preparation of the impact.
“Based on the current track of Tropical Storm Dorian, all residents on the East Coast should prepare for impacts, including strong winds, heavy rain and flooding,” DeSantis said. “Make sure to have your supplies ready and follow @FLSERT [Florida Division of Emergency Management] and local media for the latest updates on the forecast.”
The City of Plant City is already bracing itself for the storm and City Manager Bill McDaniel asks residents to perform the necessary precautionary measures to ensure they’re prepared for high winds and extensive rain.
“The worst case scenario would be it does turn into a full hurricane and comes over here,” McDaniel said. “Again, the worst case would be if we had a repeat of 2004. If it goes below us, we will be on the rainy side. There are several inches of rain estimated to come our way and it’s important residents take the time now to ensure they’re prepared.”
A major concern for the city has been the nonstop rain for the past several months. As the local canals reach capacity, water flow throughout the city stalls, causing erosion and damage throughout town. Oversaturated grounds have also led to quick flooding issues, as there is simply nowhere for falling water to go. Residents are seeing water accumulate in their backyards and on their streets and, while it recedes eventually, it has already begun to cause an onslaught of issues.
McDaniel said one citizen has already reached out to the city in search of sandbags to proactively protect their property.
Follow the City of Plant City’s social media accounts for updates on the storm and services the city will offer. You can also sign up for its newsletter at eepurl.com/gfM-Wn.
Plant City Police posted on Facebook “in the event that Hurricane Dorian impacts the City of Plant City, residents may get sandbags to protect their homes. Sandbags may be picked up from the Plant City Stormwater Division, located 1302 W. Spencer St., just west of N. Alexander Street starting tomorrow, Thursday, August 29, 2019. Pick up times are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.”
Hillsborough County will have sandbags at Edward Medard Park, 6140 Turkey Creek Rd., starting tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
City leaders met Tuesday morning to discuss plans for the storm. McDaniel said all hands are on deck and they will work around the clock to handle whatever Dorian throws our way.
One of the largest concerns as far as damage goes lies in the wind impact on the city. Saturated ground leads to weak roots in trees, and even a low-level storm could lead to a barrage of tree or limb collapses across town. McDaniel said even if Dorian remained a tropical storm, the city could see more damage than normal from a storm of a similar size because of the heavily saturated ground throughout the city.
“Prepare now, don’t wait,” McDaniel said. “Now is the time, not when the storm is bearing down on us. Have a plan in place for whatever comes. It’s a simple message and one that is repeated year after year, but it’s an important one. Dorian is just the beginning of the peak of hurricane season. There’s a chance we will be seeing many more in the weeks to come, and historically we’re just entering the real heart of the season. They all say it only takes one storm and that’s unfortunately true. So, make sure you have a plan in place.”