Tampa (Bay) Florida

Tampa at Sunset

West Central Florida is home to Tampa, the business hub for the west coast. The Tampa Bay Area covers not only Tampa but also St Petersburg, Clearwater and many other towns along the Gulf of Mexico, whose miles of sea and sand are vacation territory with sunset views rivaled only by those of the Florida Keys.
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Over the last few years, efforts to mold Ybor City into a tourist attraction have saved many older buildings from dereliction. Though it's best to experience it at night, when the excellent restaurants and bars are heaving, you can take it in by strolling the nine blocks of Seventh and Eight avenues east of 13th. Street.

The old Port of Tampa is being transformed into a new Channelside complex which has the Florida Aquarium, Cruise Ship Terminal and a new Entertainment complex which is now under construction.

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Since Tampa is located on the West Coast of Florida on the Gulf of Mexico, hurricanes are always watched as they can bring high tiedes, strong winds, and destruction if they were to make a direct hit on the Tampa Bay Area.

Just passing by in the Gulf of Mexico can cause much flooding and destruction, depending upon how close to the area it came and when the high tides occure.

Here's Tropical Maps & Salallite Imagery from The Weather Underground.

Visit the Intellecast page for Storm Tracking maps & Satellite Imagery.

Visit the National Hurricane Center Tropical Prediction Center.

Visit Crown Weather Services for all kinds of information, graphs and maps.

Visit NPFR - Hurricane Page for all kinds of information, graphs and maps.

Visit Preparing for Disasters in Your Home: What to Buy, What to Skip

Visit Hurricane Preparedness: Watches and Warnings

Visit Home Emergency and Disaster Safety

Visit 10 Tips for Keeping Children Safe in a Hurricane

Visit Hurricanes for Kids — Safety Resources, Facts & Projects

Visit Hurricane Emergency Preparation Guide Tips for Hurricane Emergency Preparation

Visit Disaster Readiness Tips for People with Mobility Disabilities

Visit Disaster Preparedness for Pet Parents — Everything You Need to Know

Visit Atlantic Hurricane Season Cruising: What You Need to Know

Visit 7 Tips to Hurricane Proof Your Vacation

Visit Hurricane Safety Guide with Checklist

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What Is A Tropical Depression, Tropical Storm Or A Hurricane:

  • Tropical Depression
    A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained wind speed is 38 mph or less ( less than 33 kt or 17 m/s). Depressions have a closed circulation.

  • Tropical Storm
    A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained wind speed ranges from 39 mph (34 kt or 18 m/s) to 73 mph (63 kt or 33 m/s). The convection in tropical storms is usually more concentrated near the center with outer rainfall organizing into distinct bands.

  • Hurricane
    When winds in a tropical cyclone equal or exceed 74 mph (64 kt or 34 m/s) it is called a hurricane. Hurricanes are further designated by categories on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Hurricanes in categories 3, 4, 5 are known as Major Hurricanes or Intense Hurricanes.

  • The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale:

    The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is a 1-5 rating based on the hurricane's present intensity. This is used to give an estimate of the potential property damage and flooding expected along the coast from a hurricane landfall. Wind speed is the determining factor in the scale, as storm surge values are highly dependent on the slope of the continental shelf in the landfall region. Note that all winds are using the U.S. 1-minute average.

    Category One Hurricane:
    Winds 74-95 mph (64-82 kt or 119-153 km/hr). Barometric Pressure Above 980 mb (Above 28.94 in) Storm surge generally 4-5 ft above normal. No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Some damage to poorly constructed signs. Also, some coastal road flooding and minor pier damage.

    Category Two Hurricane:
    Winds 96-110 mph (83-95 kt or 154-177 km/hr). Barometric Pressure 965-980 mb (28.50-28.94 in) Storm surge generally 6-8 feet above normal. Some roofing material, door, and window damage of buildings. Considerable damage to shrubbery and trees with some trees blown down. Considerable damage to mobile homes, poorly constructed signs, and piers. Coastal and low-lying escape routes flood 2-4 hours before arrival of the hurricane center. Small craft in unprotected anchorages break moorings.

    Category Three Hurricane:
    Winds 111-130 mph (96-113 kt or 178-209 km/hr). Barometric Pressure 945-965 mb (27.91-28.50 in) Storm surge generally 9-12 ft above normal. Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtainwall failures. Damage to shrubbery and trees with foliage blown off trees and large trees blown down. Mobile homes and poorly constructed signs are destroyed. Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by battering from floating debris. Terrain continuously lower than 5 ft above mean sea level may be flooded inland 8 miles (13 km) or more. Evacuation of low-lying residences with several blocks of the shoreline may be required.

    Category Four Hurricane:
    Winds 131-155 mph (114-135 kt or 210-249 km/hr). Barometric Pressure 920-945 mb (27.17-27.91 in) Storm surge generally 13-18 ft above normal. More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failures on small residences. Shrubs, trees, and all signs are blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Extensive damage to doors and windows. Low-lying escape routes may be cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrain lower than 10 ft above sea level may be flooded requiring massive evacuation of residential areas as far inland as 6 miles (10 km).

    Category Five Hurricane:
    Winds greater than 155 mph (greater than 135 kt or 249 km/hr). Barometric Pressure Below 920 mb (Below 27.17 in) Storm surge generally greater than 18 ft above normal. Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. All shrubs, trees, and signs blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Severe and extensive window and door damage. Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising water 3-5 hours before arrival of the center of the hurricane. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located less than 15 ft above sea level and within 500 yards of the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within 5-10 miles (8-16 km) of the shoreline may be required.

    History of Tampa

    Tampa is a major United States seaport and an important industrial center of the state. Tampa and its "twin city" St. Petersburg, lie on opposite sides of Tampa Bay.

    In 1824, the government moved many Seminole Indians to a revervation near Tampa Bay. The same year, the Army built Fort Booke on Tampa Bay to supervise the Seminole. The Army chose this site because it included a harbor where troops and supplies could be landed. White settlers soon established a village near the fort and named it for the bay. Tampa owes its commercial success to Tampa Bay and the Hillsborough River.

    In 1886 Vicente Martinez Ybor established a cigar factory in Tampa. Tampa has a large Spanish-speaking population, chiefly in a area which covers about 2 square miles between Nebraska Avenue, 22nd Street, Columbus Drive and East Broadway, which is known as Ybor City.

    The military has also had an ongoing role in Tampa's development. Today the U.S. Operations Command is headquartered nearby at MacDill Air Force Base.

    Tampa is the county seat of Hillsborough County. Much of the city lies on islands and peninsulas. Downtown office buildings stand near Tampa Bay and the mouth of the Hillsborough River.

    In the 1920's the man-made Davis Islands were created offshore for real estate development. Citrus and phosphates (early economic factors) account for much of the port traffic. Tampa now has a wide range of industries and is a major distribution centre. The Gasparilla festival, a February event highlighted by a priat invasion of the old port city, and Busch Gardens, including a zoo with an African setting, which features daily shows by rare tropical birds, are prpular tourist attractions. It is also the home of a professional football team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    The city is the home of Hillsborough Community College (1968), the University of South Florida (1956) and the University of Tampa (1931). Tampa has evolved into a multi-cultural, diverse business center with sustainable communities for its citizens.

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