Counties urge vigilance as Elsa veers toward Florida

Forecasters upgraded Tropical Storm Elsa into the first hurricane of the season early Friday. While Elsa’s potential path is still broad and its potential arrival not until next week, local officials are not waiting around to send out information. 

Alachua and Levy counties both sent out emails Friday calling on residents to stay alert and stock up on disaster supplies. 

The Levy County update noted the storm’s track has shifted east, increasing the likelihood of an impact on the area. But David Peaton, assistant director of Levy County Emergency Management, also noted the storm is expected to be downgraded again to a tropical storm.

An Alachua County press release said the area would definitely receive more rain, but the exact path Elsa will take is still in the air.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding Elsa’s forecasted track (as evidenced by the large 5-day cone),” the county release said. 

North Florida has already received heavy rainfall. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued flood warnings for Alachua, Gilchrist, Columbia and Union counties Friday morning. 

The Sante Fe River has risen with recent rain and threatens to flood near Fort White, according to the NWS. 

“As of right now, no closures, evacuations, or other emergency actions are in place for the community,” Peaton wrote. “We are now receiving our standard twice a day briefings from the NWS and [National Hurricane Center] and are in coordination with the State Division of Emergency Management to make sure that everyone stays informed.”

The county encourages citizens to take the following actions. 

  • Monitor your local news/weather providers for the most up to date forecast

  • Double check and/or finish assembling your disaster supply kit

  • Double check your property for anything that can be damaging in high winds

  • Sign up for emergency alerts by visiting our website at levydisaster.com or downloading our app in the Google and Apple App stores

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