Suwannee, Levy counties open public shelters

Live Oak, Florida, spotlighted on a map
Live Oak, Florida, spotlighted on a map

Suwannee and Levy counties are opening shelters for those who may not have a safe place to ride out Tropical Storm Elsa, which is expected to make landfall overnight as a Category 1 hurricane. 

Suwannee County opened three emergency shelters at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The shelters are not stocked with comfort items and should be considered a last resort, a release from the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office said.

The shelter locations are as follows:

  • General population shelters:
    • Suwannee Pineview Elementary School (pet friendly)
      1748 Ohio Ave S, Live Oak, FL 32064
    • Branford Elementary School
      26801 SR 247, Branford, FL 32008
  • Special medical needs (staffed by the Florida Department of Health):
    • Suwannee Springcrest Elementary School
      1419 Walker Ave SW, Live Oak, FL 32064

The county is expecting heavy rain and strong winds, even though it is at least 75 miles from where the storm is expected to hit near Cedar Key. The National Weather Service said Suwannee County could potentially see wind gusts of 70 miles per hour.

“We have no mandatory evacuation and no plans to institute one,” Lt. Shawn Larney, public information officer for the sheriff’s department, said in a phone interview.

Larney said the county is maintaining contact with state officials and will be updated after the National Weather Service’s next information release.

The county is offering sandbags to citizens. These can be picked up at the Live Oak Fire Department on East Duval or next to the judicial annex on Pine Avenue and Parshley Street.

Meanwhile, Levy County announced it is opening two shelters at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Those locations are as follows: 

  • Special needs shelter: Bronson Elementary, 400 Ishie Ave, Bronson FL 32621
    • Note: The special needs shelter is reserved for residents that are registered for the Levy County Special Medical Needs Registry
  • General population shelter: Bronson High School, 351 Ishie Ave, Bronson FL 32621

The county called the Bronson High School facility a “shelter of last resort” that will provide safety and shelter but little else, including food and sleeping areas. 

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with information on Levy County’s shelters. 

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