- September 26, 2022
The town of Longboat Key has set up a self-filling sandbag station for residents and business owners as Tropical Storm Eta moves throughout the Gulf of Mexico.
The sandbag station is located at 100 Broadway Street. Each household or business is limited to a maximum of 10 sandbags. People must also provide proof of residency.
“We’re planning for the worst, and hopefully, that’s not what we have here,” Fire Chief Paul Dezzi said during a Monday morning conference call with town stakeholders.
Dezzi recommended people secure their boats, beach chairs, umbrellas and other belongings.
“Right now it’s moving west of Longboat Key and west of the state of Florida, but again, you just never know,” Dezzi said. “Keeping that in mind, I want you to also understand if anybody has any needs or any concerns, we’re here to assist you. The biggest thing here is for us to monitor this storm.”
Tropical Storm Eta continues to track west-southwest in the Gulf of Mexico as of Monday morning. It is then forecast to track north-northeast around Tuesday morning.
Winds in Longboat Key are projected to be up to 20-30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph. About 2 inches of rain are forecast.
“That still causes the town of Longboat Key to have issues,” Dezzi said.
The storm is projected to be off the coast of Longboat Key late Tuesday into Wednesday before passing Thursday. Winds remain offshore for how, but would shift to onshore if the storm moves north on its forecast track.
“Even with the current forecast, you all need to monitor the track as there is always time for it to move,” Dezzi said.
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is closed as of Monday morning because of high winds. Sarasota County Schools are closed Monday because of the tropical storm.
Dezzi said Eta could cause large waves, a bit of beach erosion and rip currents. He also said people need to have a plan if the storm does begin to track farther east because the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced capacity at Manatee County and Sarasota County hurricane shelters.
“Right now, we’re going to be sheltering within our own homes,” Dezzi said.