Jeff Zito

Weekday Afternoons 3pm - 7pm

Tropical Storm Nicole is headed to Florida and a State of Emergency for Pasco and Hillsborough Declared! Are you prepared?

I feel like we have been here before as a State of emergency for Pasco and Hillsborough declared for the oncoming Tropical Storm Nicole. Nicole is expected to be a hurricane here by midweek sometime and is set to strike the East Coast of Florida. Gov. Ron Desantis has preempted a State of Emergency out of abundance of caution.

Nicole is expected to be near the Bahamas Wednesday morning and by that night be on Florida’s doorstep. The path of this hurricane is wildly different then many we have seen as it plans to cut across the state towards Tampa/Saint Pete. After it actually is predicted to return back to the east coast. Weird we know.

Experts don’t believe this storm to be life-threatening in its current form but has the potential for a lot of destruction. If it actually makes it to Tampa and Saint Pete it would most like be a tropical depression some experts predict. The good news for Pasco and Hillsborough is that most of the rain will be dealt to the other side. Be prepared and be safe state of emergency for Pasco and Hillsborough declared! [Source Sun Sentinel]

Safety Tips To Recover From A Hurricane

As Hurricane Ian passes through Tampa Bay, it’s important to remember safe ways to recover from a hurricane. After the worst is over, it still may be advised to stay in shelter as you are unaware of road conditions. If you have evacuated your home, it is best to stay in your shelter as you may not be able to access or have power at your house.

You’ve made it through the wind and the rain. Notoriously, there’s debris and streets are flooded. You’re initial instincts are probably to go outside to take a look at the damage, but that is when most injuries, and unfortunately, deaths take place. From fallen powerline and generator injuries, to car accidents from flooded streets, these are just a few reasons why after a storm is just as dangerous.

With the help of the CDC website, we made a list of important safety tips to recover from a hurricane.


  • When It's Safe, Inspect Your Home

    If you’ve evacuated before the storm, it’s advised by the National Weather Service to come back to inspect your home only when officials say it is safe. If you stayed in place, be sure to wear protective gear (gloves, waterproof boots, hard hats/helmets).

    If your power is out, use flashlights instead of candles.

    Stay inside for as long as you can and only drive if necessary. Sometimes flooding of streets can be misleading and it’s easy for your car to flood. If you must go out, watch for fallen objects in the road, downed electrical wires, and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks that might collapse.

    Be sure to report any loses or damage as soon as possible. It’s always a good idea to take photos of any damage as you see it. As soon as it’s available, have your home inspected by a licensed contractor.

    Start the process by airing out your home and throwing out any wet items that won’t dry quickly, like mattresses, couches and books. If mold has already started to grow, clean it up with a mixture of bleach and water.

  • Generator Safety

    According to the National Weather Service, carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after storms in areas dealing with power outages. Review these quick powering and operating your generator safety tips from ABC Action News.

    • Check fuel level, oil level, and filter.
    • Never use wet hands to operate the generator. Never let water come in contact with the generator.
    • Never run your generator in a garage because the carbon-monoxide exhaust is toxic. Find a well-ventilated space with some cover, but be sure the generator isn’t positioned outside an open window.
    • Use a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector.
    • Always turn the engine off before refueling and let the generator cool.
    • Don’t spill fuel. It can ignite.
    • Store fuel and generator in a ventilated area and away from natural gas water heaters. Vapors can escape from closed cans and tanks, then travel to the pilot light and ignite.
    • Never feed power from a portable generator into a wall outlet. This can kill linemen working to restore power. It also can damage your generator.
    • Use outdoor-rated extension cords to plug in any appliances.
  • Should You Flush Your Toilet?

    Safe Ways To Recover From A Hurricane

    (Photo Illustration by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)

    It’s a question on a lot of people’s minds after a hurricane, “can I flush my toilet?” Well the answer is it depends on the condition of your environment. According to WFLA, sewer systems can become filled and rainwater floods into the streets, so flushing should be avoided.

  • Be Cautious Of What's In Your Fridge

    Keep you fridge closed for as long as possible. It’s advised from the FDA to not eat food from your refrigerator if its temperature has risen above 40° F for two hours or longer.

    If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. If the food or packaging still contains ice crystals or is 40 °F or below, it is safe to refreeze or cook.

    Refrigerated food should be safe as long as the power was not out for more than four hours and the refrigerator door was kept shut. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.

    If you are in need, you can go to to find a pantry or distribution site near you.

  • Protect Yourself From Disaster Scams

    Unfortunately, during and after a storm, scammers try to take advantage of those most vulnerable. According to The Tampa Bay Times, even some Tampa residents have reported a “bad con” that’s been played before. Bad actors purporting to be the electric utility emailing and texting customers and telling them if they don’t pay their bill right now. their power will be cut off. Links to make payments are often included.

    Tampa Electric Co. spokesperson Cherie Jacobs stated “these emails and phone calls are not from us, these are scammers trying to get your money.”

    If you have concerns with your account during the storm, go to, or your electricity providers website.

  • Support Your Mental Health

    Emotions often run high after a disaster, so physical tasks can tire you out more quickly than usual. Be careful not to over-exert yourself. Also remember that emotional healing takes time – if you have lost something or someone, counseling could be a good option for you and/or your family.