A tornado watch for the region, including the City of North Port, has been extended until 10 p.m. this evening, according to the National Weather Service.

Tropical Storm Andrea is gaining strength as it moves in the Gulf of Mexico and approaches the Florida Big Bend. Maximum sustained winds are 60 mph. A tropical storm warning is in effect for parts of the Florida west coast until about 6:15 a.m. on Friday, June 7, 2013, according to the National Weather Service.

North Port residents are encouraged to take storm precautions, including avoid driving on flooded streets.
The City of North Port has been monitoring the storm pattern for several days and is continuing to do so. Staff has taken several precautions over the last few days to handle the expected heavy rain and high winds and is prepared for emergency response if needed.

The City’s Parks and Recreation Division and community organizers have cancelled the Youth Fun Run series that was to take place at Dallas White Park at 7 p.m. The Parks and Recreation Division will post any further cancellations of programs on the City’s website at CityofNorthPort.com.

North Port residents are encouraged to exercise caution over the next few hours. Avoid driving on roads that are flooded. Pay attention to the skyline and, if a rain band is expected, seek shelter.

No emergency shelters have been open at this time.

Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. Tropical Storm Andrea is a reminder that residents should stock up on hurricane supplies, including nonperishable food items, batteries, a weather radio, and other necessary items. Residents should also review their emergency plans with family members.

“We hope that we never have to use our hurricane supply kits, but – once a year – we need to review everything and make sure that our kits are ready and our plans are in place,” said Emergency Management Coordinator Rich Berman.

For more information, contact the City’s Fire Rescue District at (941) 240-8150. If there is an emergency, dial 911.