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Rick Kriseman urges residents to hold onto sandbags after avoiding Hurricane Dorian

“The storm season isn’t over yet.”

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is advising residents to remain vigilant for the remainder of the 2019 hurricane season despite the region appearing to have avoided effects from Hurricane Dorian.

“Although we aren’t likely to feel the effects of Hurricane Dorian, we continue to closely monitor the storm and hope our neighbors to the East stay safe,” Kriseman wrote on Facebook Tuesday.

The city began handing out sandbags last week when the Tampa Bay region was still in the cone of uncertainty for potential effects. Now that the area is outside of that danger zone, attention has shifted more to the east coast of Florida as well as Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

St. Pete provided more than 26,000 sandbags throughout Friday and Saturday to help residents protect their properties against flooding.

“Thanks to everyone for taking storm preps seriously,” Kriseman said. “Hang on to those sandbags– storm season isn’t over yet!”


In addition to providing sandbags, the city also fielded 326 calls from residents about the hurricane Thursday through Monday.

Kriseman also shared well-wishes to people in the Bahamas who over the weekend suffered the brunt of Hurricane Dorian’s wrath. The storm made landfall Sunday as a Category 5 hurricane, the strongest level possible. Coast Guard crews from Clearwater had already rescued 19 people from the storm there.

The city of Tampa also handed out sandbags over the weekend, which can be saved for use if another storm or rain event threatens.

Meanwhile, public schools in both Pinellas and Hillsborough County remained closed Tuesday because of an earlier decision to close out of an abundance of caution. Since the storm did not affect the area, many residents were left needing child care for children as they still had to go to work. The city of Tampa offered free care for children aged 5-14 at several city recreation centers. Parents were required only to send children with lunch for the day.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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