According to a release of the 5 day Tropical Weather Outlook released at 8:00 AM this morning by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration’s National Hurricane Center, meteorologists are predicting a 60 percent chance of the formation of a tropical cyclone within five days that could threaten Florida’s Gulf Coast Monday or Tuesday of next week.
A low pressure area is expected to form over the Yucatan or the adjacent waters by late this weekend. This low could develop into a tropical cyclone as it subsequently moves across the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Peninsula early next week. Regardless of development, locally heavy rains and flooding are possible over portions of the Yucatan Peninsula, western Cuba and the Florida Peninsula during the next several days.
If such a storm forms, the trajectory currently shows the storm heading eastward over the Florida Peninsula or Eastern Carribean toward the Atlantic. This is a storm that Pasco County and New Port Richey residents should carefully monitor over the coming week. NewsPortRichey will publish any major updates on the storm. Concerned residents who need help with preparation for such a storm can seek additional information from Pasco County Emergency Management, and a comprehensive guide they publish called the “Disaster Planning Guide”.
Officials often recommend that residents be prepared with food, gas, supplies, and medications for at least the first 72 hours following a storm, and have a reserve of clean drinking water to last at least seven days.
The City of New Port Richey has made sandbags available for residents for this potential storm. Sand and sandbags will be available this Friday through Sunday at 6420 Pine Hill Road from 8 AM – 5 PM. Residents must bring their own shovel.
Pasco County has now also opened sand bag locations for Pasco County residents at the following locations:
- West Pasco Government Center, 7356 State Street, New Port Richey (self-serve)
- J.W. Mitchell Park, 4025 Little Road, New Port Richey (self-serve)
- Veterans Memorial Park, 14333 Hicks Road, Hudson (self-serve)
- C-Barn, 30906 Warder Road, San Antonio (self-serve)
- Land O’Lakes Rec Center, 3032 Collier Parkway, Land O’Lakes (self-serve)
- Fire Station #2, 6907 Dairy Road, Zephyrhills (self-serve)
Hurricane evacuation zones for the County and City are also available here, with five zones for evacuation (A, B, C, D, and E) that correspond to expected storm tidal heights. Residents in Level A zones are expected to evacuate first, with additional areas expected to evacuate as predictions for storm strength might increase. Officials recommend that residents know their evacuation routes and locations in advance, and also know the locations of shelters they plan to utilize in the event of an evacuation. Residents planning to use shelters should note that not all shelters will accept pets, and that other arrangements for pets should be made, including planning to evacuate to shelters that do accept pets, or leaving the area entirely.
The Pasco County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been undergoing renovations since last year and is not expected to be completed until August 2016. Pasco County issued a Press Release at 12:00 PM Friday indicating that Pasco EOC Director Kevin Guthrie asked for renovations to be moved up. “The decision was made Wednesday to go ahead and finish as much as we can,” Guthrie said, “It was remarkable to see… staff furnish and make it operational so quickly.” Emergency Management staff said they will closely monitor the weather system currently in the Gulf of Mexico.