Alachua and Levy County emergency managers are calling on residents to prepare for a major storm as Tropical Storm Ian heads for Florida.
“As a community, we are stronger than the individual,” Alachua County Emergency Manager Jen Grice said in a statement. “We encourage all of our residents to reach out to their friends, families, and neighbors to provide help and encouragement to those that may have a more difficult time getting prepared. Whole community preparedness ensures that if disaster does strike, we will be able to bounce back quicker and stronger.”
Weather forecasters expect Ian to strengthen to a hurricane over the weekend and make landfall in Florida next week—but the exact location still includes a wide range of possibilities.
On Saturday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis expanded a state of emergency to encompass the entire state. If the storm continues to slow down, it will drift further west and toward the northern part of the state and the panhandle. If it speeds up, it will likely make a tighter turn east and make landfall closer to the Tampa area or further south, based on current models.
“They’re not real confident with the track,” said John MacDonald, director of Levy County Emergency Management.
In a Saturday press release, Alachua County noted the range of possibilities and said “preparedness is a must.”
“Take the weekend to make sure you and your family have taken all necessary preparedness steps so that if this storm decides to make its way to Alachua County, you will be ready,” the release said. “Doing things like trimming tree branches, securing lawn furniture, storing toys, tools, and grills, cleaning gutters, and removing obstructions around windows can help prepare your home for winds and heavy rainfall.”
MacDonald said Levy County is preparing a local emergency declaration but will make a final call during a Monday morning meeting of county stakeholders.
“We’ll discuss evacuation, sheltering, all of that,” MacDonald said. “Our drop-dead deadline for protective measures is Monday morning.”
MacDonald said he expects an evacuation order will be necessary for Levy County. His advice to residents: “Get all their personal affairs in order and be ready to evacuate. Pay attention to social media and be ready to react to evacuation orders.”
Do you know of anywhere in Alachua County or Gainesville to pick up sandbags?
Alachua County sandbag locations
Alachua County will start offering sandbags at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. There is a limit of 10 bags per person.
Wayside Park – 11855 N.W. US 441
Check home depot or Lowes
Are school’s closing?