Tampa, FL – In advance of the upcoming heavy rainfall in the forecast for Tampa Bay, many are loading up on free sandbags being offered by cities and counties across the region.

“I’d rather have them and not need them then come Thursday need them and not have them,” said Tampa resident Jeff Jennings.

When it comes to the best way to set up sandbags to keep water out of their homes many don’t realize there’s an art.

“I don’t have a plan. I’m winging it to be quite honest with you,” Jennings admitted.

10News WTSP joined up with the folks at Lowe’s to show you the best way to make sure your sandbags do their job.

Manager Daniel Ray says just setting them by the base of the door isn’t the best practice.

“That’s not going to stop the water from going into your house,” he said.

Ray says you want to fill sandbags about half to three-quarters full and then lay them flat -- like bricks -- outside the base of the door.

“We’re going to brick stack it,” he explained.

After you lay out the first row, you want to stagger a second row of bags on top.

“Put it on top of that crease there which doesn’t allow the water to seep through,” Ray showed.

He says a good rule of thumb is to lay the bags the length of the door and then add another row on top.

Ray explained that leaving room in the bags allows the water to help the sand expand and stop other water from flowing past.

Sandbags are a cheap, quick and effective way to stop minor flooding, but when it comes to serious flooding one company says they have a proven method.

It’s called the AquaDam.

Gulf Coast AquaDam offers the plastic and fiber tubes that you fill with water and surround your home.

In June, a Texas man set one up around his home and kept out massive amounts of floodwater from the Brazos River.

“This is a dam filled with water holding back water,” said Randy Wagner.

The folks with Gulf Coast AquaDam say their products cost between $4,000 and $8,000 depending on your property. They say it’s easy to set up and store yourself. The AquaDam will last between 8 and 10 years.

“$8,300 is to me a small investment on a house that could have two foot of water in it and cost me $150,000 in repairs," Wagner said.

The company says they’re bringing some to the Tampa Bay area and hope to arrive before any flooding that could be caused by Tropical Depression 9.

For more information: http://www.gulfcoastaquadams.com/

WHERE TO GET SANDBAGS

Several municipalities are offering free sandbags to residents as a storm approaches.

TAMPA

The City of Tampa will to open sandbag locations from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. They will be available to city residents at three locations:

-- Bobby Hicks Pool, 4201 W. Mango Ave.

-- Barksdale Active Adult Center, 1801 N. Lincoln Ave.

-- Jackson Heights Playground, 3310 E. Lake Ave.

There is a 10-bag limit. Residents must show a valid identification such as a driver's license or utility bill.
Residents should report flooding issues by calling (813) 274-3101.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

Sandbags will be available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at these locations:

-- 8718 Old Big Bend Road, Gibsonton.

-- 4702 Sydney Road, Plant City.

-- 9805 Sheldon Road, Tampa.

There is a 25-bag limit.

PINELLAS COUNTY

Pinellas County will offer sandbags at the following locations on Tuesday:

-- John Chesnut Sr. Park, 2200 East Lake Road in Palm Harbor.

-- Lealman Community Park, 3890 55th Ave. N. in St. Petersburg.

-- Taylor Park, 1100 Eighth Ave. S.W. in Largo.

There is a 25-bag limit. They will be available during daylight hours. Material and bags will be at the sites. Residents must fill their own sandbags.

GULFPORT

Sandbags will be available Tuesday and Wednesday at Gulfport City Hall, 2401 53rd St. S. from 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. or until inclement weather begins. There is 10-bag limit and proof of residency may be required.

ST. PETERSBURG

The city is offering sandbags from noon until 8 p.m. Tuesday at these locations:

-- Northeast Park, 875 62nd Ave. NE. (Cardinal Drive entrance to Mangrove Bay Golf Course).

-- Bartlett Park (Frank W. Pierce Recreation Center), 22nd Avenue S. between Sixth and Seventh streets