Tampa Bay residents refill, fear and look ahead to what Idalia will do

Minutes after the Midtown Tampa Complete Meals opened its doorways Tuesday morning forward of the approaching storm, letting in crowd of anxious buyers, Miguel Sanchez already had his automotive trunk and backseat full of packed brown paper sacks.

“I’m full up,” mentioned Sanchez, who was delivering groceries for Amazon and busy sufficient with pre-Idalia orders that he deliberate to work into the night — getting him house earlier than the worst of the climate.

However Tuesday morning, Sanchez was wanting up at blue skies. “The calm earlier than the storm,” he mentioned.

Throughout Tampa Bay, residents spent Tuesday last-minute stressing, prepping and bracing for what Hurricane Idalia would convey.

The Ace {Hardware} in South Pasadena had a protracted line all morning. The shop was out of fuel cans, D batteries, flashlights — and bought the final lantern simply earlier than 10 a.m.

“Individuals are fearful. That is uncommon, even for a hurricane,” mentioned cashier Tina Hayes, 57. Some could be extra involved due to Hurricane Ian’s destruction final 12 months, she mentioned.

Cashier Tina Hayes does business with Victoria Sparks at the Ace Hardware in South Pasadena Tuesday morning ahead of the storm.
Cashier Tina Hayes does enterprise with Victoria Sparks on the Ace {Hardware} in South Pasadena Tuesday morning forward of the storm. [ Lane DeGregory ]

The mayor of Gulfport, Sam Henderson, stopped in for screws and drill bits to board his home windows. “In fact I’m fearful, however I’m not leaving,” he mentioned. He deliberate to trip out the storm with 4 relations and 4 canine.

Some residents mentioned Tuesday they had been much less fearful concerning the storm hitting right here than they had been about dropping energy.

In Tampa, Mary Cantonis was glad for 2 issues: their generator labored, and her neighborhood wasn’t required to evacuate. “Which makes us really feel much less loopy,” she mentioned.

Cantonis, who stopped at Complete Meals early for staples and luxury meals — doughnuts, possibly — mentioned she fearful that “lots of people aren’t taking it as significantly as they need to.” Her sister, who lives on the seaside, boarded up final time a storm threatened, however not this time.

“I believe there’s that mentality that it’s not going to occur right here,” she mentioned.

Throughout the bay, normally festive Gulfport was shuttered Tuesday. Even the favored bar O’Maddy’s was closed as a result of it’s in evacuation Zone A. Locals saved stopping by, studying the signal, and asking, “So the place’s the get together?”

Things were quiet Tuesday in usually festive Gulfport.
Issues had been quiet Tuesday in normally festive Gulfport. [ Lane DeGregory ]

In Tampa, a Circle Okay comfort retailer on Howard Avenue regarded like a parking zone with all of the automobiles gassing up. Simply throughout the road, the Radiant station was empty, with “OUT OF GAS” indicators taped to the pumps and fluttering within the wind.

Down the road at Le Segunda Bakery, lengthy loaves of Cuban bread in skinny paper envelopes had been going quick. Basic supervisor Shanesa Bacon mentioned she anticipated to promote loads of medianoche and Cuban sandwiches because the day wore on. The shop would shut at 3 p.m., in loads of time for workers to get house.

“The facility already flickered, and it’s not even raining but,” she mentioned.

At a Dale Mabry Freeway Residence Depot, Jim Evangelista’s purchasing cart regarded deceptively like he was making the everyday Saturday morning purchases: A inexperienced backyard hose and large baggage of soil. However he deliberate for these baggage to do double obligation as sandbags for the storm, he mentioned.

Was he fearful? “I’m fearful sufficient,” mentioned Evangelista, who spent the day earlier than prepping his home in Crystal River in opposition to the storm. “I’m fearful concerning the storm surge and the water.”

On the Goal subsequent door, the place workers had been filling cabinets with Halloween sweet, Quintin Moultrie pushed a cart stuffed with purchases for his supply enterprise.

“Individuals are hunkering down, making an attempt to get the last-minute hurricane provides, batteries, dry items, snacks for the kiddos,” he mentioned. “I obtained lots of calls yesterday — the quantity was so excessive I couldn’t fulfill some orders.”

On the South Pasadena Ace {Hardware}, Victoria Sparks, 77, mentioned she hadn’t grilled in a long time. However Tuesday morning, she stopped by the shop to purchase a charcoal grill, “simply in case.” Family members maintain texting her to depart, however she lined her house with sandbags and crammed the again of her SUV with extra to present to neighbors.

“We’re all on this collectively,” she mentioned.

• • •

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