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Escambia County emergency officials monitor Hurricane Nate

Photo source: WEAR-TV

Local emergency officials are at the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center on W Street monitoring conditions as Nate heads towards the Gulf Coast. The facility is fully staffed in preparation for the system.

The big message: Don't let this storm catch you off guard.

"If you're in evacuation zones A or B, you need to be planning on evacuating Saturday at 6 a.m. when we issue our evacuation order. Those evacuation zones are our barrier islands, Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key and also along the edges of Escambia County, so, areas of Lillian Highway along Perdido Bay and Escambia Rivers," said Escambia County public safety director Mike Weaver.

You don't need to travel too far to find safety.

"We're saying instead of hundreds of miles, let's travel tens of miles. As long as you're out of that evacuation area you can stay along Highway 29, downtown Pensacola in a hotel or with friends or in one of the shelters, but if you're in one of those evacuation areas, you wil need to evacuate," Weaver said.

Gulf Power is just one of many companies on the ready to restore power when it is safe to do so.

"We're part of Southern Company. We can draw from the strength of Mississippi Power, Georgia Power, Alabama Power. We do have about 350 line personnel coming in, support crew, 130 line workers - a lot of them coming from Georgia Power. We're also drawiing from a mutual assistance network we have from Tennessee," said spokesperson Jeff Rogers. He said people should prepare to potentially be without power.

"If we get hit with some of these straight line winds, we're going to be on the east side here, they always say prepare for the worst and hope for the best, that's what we do and we want out customers to do that, as well. So, things like having ice for a cooler, preparing to be without power for maybe several days if we get hit pretty hard," Rogers said.

Click here to monitor outages in your area with Gulf Power's outage map.

If you're under an evacuation order, it's important to know where you're going to go. Five shelters will open in Escambia County Saturday morning at 8 a.m. Bring your bare essentials if you plan to hunker down at one of these locations.

"Stuff you'll need to sleep with and medication you'll need, things you'll need for your children, a change of clothes and everything else should be there for you," said Escambia County public safety director Mike Weaver.

Call Escambia County's information line at 850-471-6600 if you need transportation to a shelter. Click here for a list.


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