DeSantis declares 23-county state of emergency

Update (8 p.m. Aug. 13): As Tropical Depression Fred moved toward the tip of Florida Friday night, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for 23 counties, including Levy, Gilchrist and Dixie. 

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 35 miles per hour at 5 p.m. Friday, but it is expected to strengthen to a tropical storm as it reached the Florida Keys, the governor’s executive order noted

“The Florida Division of Emergency Management continues to host daily calls with all 67 counties to identify potential resource gaps and to implement plans that will allow the state to respond quickly and efficiently,” a press release from the governor’s office said. “The State Emergency Operations Center will activate to a Level 2 Saturday morning, to enhance coordination between federal, state and local emergency management agencies.”

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Update (2:30 p.m. Aug. 13): Officials have opened a second sandbag location. The two addresses are as follows: 

Rosewood Baptist Church

6331 SW 98th Terrace

Cedar Key, FL 32625

Town of Yankeetown Water Plant

4828 Highway 40 W

Yankeetown, FL 34498

Our original story

While Tropical Depression Fred may not hit the North Florida region too hard, area officials still say to prepare for potential flooding as a few more inches of rain fall in the region.

Forecasters predict Tropical Depression Fred to upgrade into a tropical storm by Friday evening. The new model shows that 2 to 4 inches of rain could fall on already oversaturated ground due to recent heavy rainfall that, including Tropical Storm Elsa.

“Wind and storm surge are not likely to be a huge issue, but rainfall could cause some issues,” said David Peaton, Levy County Emergency Management (LCEM) assistant director. “With as saturated the ground is, even short durations of heavy rain can cause issues.”

Peaton said some people will need to take precautionary measures.

“Those in flood prone areas, low lying areas, and areas along the river need to make sure that they have taken all necessary precautions,” he said. “There is plenty of time for them to get their property secured.”

Officials ask residents who experiences any flood damage to their property to report it to the LCEM website, and if they experience an emergency to dial 911. Yankeetown is the only location that has opened a sandbag location, Peaton reported, but additional sites may open.

Tropical Depression Fred projected path 8-13-21

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