The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group, met earlier today at the County’s Emergency Operations Center, located at 2711 E. Hanna Ave., to discuss the impacts of and to consider whether a state of emergency should be declared for Tropical Storm Debby.

According to the most recent update, the group decided not to make the declaration at this time, but will closely monitor the storm for any new developments,and reassess in the morning if they need to meet again.

During the event elected officials emphasized that all available resources will be used to assist and protect its citizens.

Prior to the meeting TS Debby was located at 28.6 N and 85.2 W-about 140 miles WSW of Cedar Key or about 160 miles WNW of the mouth of Tampa Bay, moving NE at 3 mph with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.

Tropical Storm Warnings have been issued for Levy, Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

At the time of the briefing, a Tropical Storm Warning continued to be in effect from south of the Suwannee to Englewood. A Tropical Storm Watch means tropical storm conditions are possible in the watch area.

A river flood warning remains in effect for the Little Manatee River at Wimauma, the Alafia River at Lithia and the Hillsborough River near Zephyrhills.

TS Debby is forecast to meander toward the NE for the next couple of days. At this time the primary threats from TS Debby are inland flooding and the threat for isolated tornadoes. Minor to moderate coastal flooding is also possible during times of high tides.

The Emergency Policy Group is the official local governmental body that can declare states of emergency, order evacuations and give over powers that pertain to emergency management situations. The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group is comprised of three County Commissioners, the mayors from the cities of Plant City, Tampa and Temple Terrace, and the Sheriff.

Little Manatee River at Wimauma –the stage was 14 ft. (flood stage is 11 ft.) it is expected to crest at 14.6 ft. after midnight tomorrow (this compares with September 2004).

Alafia River at Lithia – the stage was 11.8 ft. (flood stage is 13 ft.) it is expected to crest at 15.5. ft Thursday evening (this compares to August 2004).

Hillsborough River near Zephyrhills – the stage was 6.1 ft. (flood stage is 10 ft.) it is expected to crest at 10.2 ft. on Wednesday

The Emergency Operations Center is presently at a Level 2 – Partial Activation/Extended hours. Staff is actively coordinating with Public Works, Code Enforcement, Facilities, Communications, Red Cross, Health Department, Salvation Army and media.

Citizens can call 272-6900 from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. to report problems or request additional information.

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