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Flooding, wind damage and power outages are among Tampa Mayor Jane Castor's hurricane concerns

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City of Tampa
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is worried about potential storm surge, and says residents should heed warnings from local and state officials and meteorologists.

Even more than the wind and rain, it's the possible storm surge of up to ten feet in places where people live that really concerns the mayor.

With evacuation orders in effect for Hillsborough County, residents in especially flood-prone portions of Tampa, particularly those along the bay, are being encouraged to evacuate now.

Speaking on NPR's All Things Considered Monday, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said she's worried that Hurricane Ian could stall out and drop heavy rain over the Tampa Bay area for an extended period of time.

But even more than the wind and rain, it's the possible storm surge of up to ten feet in places where people live that really concerns the mayor.

"That is really going to be disastrous for our area, so we're trying to get everyone out of those locations, saying that we can always replace property, but we can't bring anyone back to life."

Castor said it appears that people are responding to the evacuation orders and are taking them seriously -- particularly in light of the severity of storms elsewhere in the last few years.

Castor, who was with the Tampa Police Department for more than thirty years, said her first-hand experiences with Hurricanes Andrew, Charley, and Michael taught her some hard lessons.

"And I can tell you unequivocally, anyone who stayed during those storms said that they would never do that again. So people need to heed this warning, get to higher ground - we can hide from the wind, but we need to run from the water."

Castor reminds people that they don't need to go hundreds of miles away - just far enough inland to escape storm surge. But if they're in an evacuation zone, they should go as soon as possible.

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