Hear loud noises by Tampa Convention Center this week? Here’s what that is

Hear loud noises by Tampa Convention Center this week? Here’s what that is

Don’t be alarmed if you hear explosions this week, the city of Tampa warns. Simulated gunfire and low-flying helicopters will be on display Wednesday, May 8, near the Tampa Convention Center, as the U.S. Special Operations Command hosts a capabilities demonstration from noon to 1 p.m.

The public is invited to observe this rare display of military-tactical might, the city said in its announcement and warning. A rehearsal of the event will take place a day earlier on Tuesday, May 7, starting at noon.

“The ‘Battle of the Bay’ is one of the most exciting parts of the Special Operations Forces Week annual conference,” the city’s announcement said. “More than 170 United States Special Operations Command and international service members from 10 nations will take part in mock scenario defending the city of Tampa from ‘hostile invaders.’ Helicopters, boats, drones, ATVS, scuba divers and much more will all be involved in the demo. This is as close to a real-life mission as it gets.”

This 2017 file photo shows the U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. [ SUSAN WALSH | AP ]

A noise advisory will be in place for those in the downtown Tampa area surrounding the Tampa Convention Center. Those with sensitivity to loud noises may want to avoid the area. Wearing a form of hearing protection is recommended for those in attendance.

Traffic around the convention center will be affected both Tuesday and Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. South Franklin Street will be blocked off from Channelside Drive to the Westin Hotel and at the Water Street intersection. During the closures, traffic will detour to Beneficial Drive.

Attendees are advised that construction work is ongoing in front of the convention center and may affect travel times. Boat access to the Seddon Channel will be restricted both days from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to participating Special Operations Teams only.

The best views of the demonstration are from higher vantage points, including the Harbour Island Bridge. The demonstration will also be visible around the convention center, Riverwalk and Bayshore Boulevard.

The SOF Week conference is expected to draw more than 16,000 people.

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