TAMPA - Hurricane Matthew was hundreds of miles away from the Bay area Tuesday, but was already affecting people and property here.
Take, for example, blood donations.
One Blood, the state’s biggest blood bank, has put out an urgent call knowing that once a storm strikes those big red buses have a hard time rolling.
So, they're asking people from all over the state including Tampa Bay, to roll up their sleeves now. Ensuring an adequate blood supply wherever Matthew may hit.
So far there’s also been no sign of increased fuel prices in our region, but the state has activated its anti-gouging hotline.
That means anything from ice to food, water, even lumber - necessities in the event of a storm, are now legally protected from price gouging.
If you see a sudden spike you can report that now to the state attorney’s office by using the toll-free number (866) 9-NO-SCAM.
Local utilities like TECO are also standing by, ready to help areas hit by the storm make needed repairs.
TECO works all year round to clear debris and tree limbs that can become projectiles.
But with tropical storm force winds of 39 miles an hour or more being forecast for eastern parts of the area, including Polk County, they urge everyone to clear the clutter and debris as soon as possible.
“The time to start paying attention is right now,” said TECO spokesperson Cheri Jacobs. “Take a look around your yard. If there are trees or other vegetation affecting your powerlines, please give us a call.”
With Gov. Rick Scott declaring all of Florida and emergency area, hundreds, perhaps even thousands of people from right here in the Bay Area are now on alert to head wherever Matthew may strike. That includes reservists and first responders like fire fighters and law enforcement.
So many people impacted, whether Matthew stays out to sea, or not.