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Escambia County shelter, evacuation and weather updates

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Current Situation

Escambia County is under a Hurricane Watch, which means that hurricane conditions are possible within the next 48 hours.

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect, which means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation in the next 48 hours.

Evacuations are being ordered for Zones A and B beginning at 6 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 7. Evacuations are being called in preparation for potentially dangerous storm surge, not flooding or wind. Run from water, hide from wind.

The Citizen Information Line is open 24 hours a day until further notice. Residents with questions may call 850-471-6600.

Escambia County Emergency Operations Center is at a level 1 activation, or full staffing, until further notice.

The Escambia County Commission enacted a local state of emergency at their Oct. 5 regularly scheduled board meeting. Declaring a local state of emergency allows the county to make formal requests to the state and FEMA for assistance if needed.

Evacuations

Evacuations are being ordered for Zones A and B beginning at 6 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 7. If you live in a mobile home or have special needs, you should consider evacuation no matter the zone in which you live if evacuations are called in the county.

It is important to decide now - know where you will go and how you will get there. Will you go to a friend or relative’s home, a hotel, or as a last resort, a public shelter? It is always easier to go tens of miles, not hundreds.

To look up your address online, click here: http://bit.ly/2vGzR1R. You can search by address or parcel number and then look for the “Emergency Management Report.” The address function is self-populating, so type slowly and then choose the address from the drop down list.

Evacuation routes can be viewed at http://bit.ly/2eJAKzm.

Shelters

The following shelters will be open at 8 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 7. Please do not arrive before 8 a.m.:

Pet Friendly Shelter

- Molino Park Elementary School, 899 Highway 97

Special Needs Shelter Only

- West Florida High School Buildings 9, 25 & 26 2400 Longleaf Drive

General Population Shelters

- Jim Bailey Middle School, 4110 Bauer Road

- Pensacola Bay Center, 201 E. Gregory St.

- Marie Young/Wedgewood Community Center, 6405 Wagner Road

If you go to a shelter, you will need to take the following items to support you and your family:

A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes

Toiletries and personal items

Blankets or sleeping bags and pillows

ID and any important papers

Games, toys or books for children

Books for adults

Special items for infants or elderly family members

Any special dietary needs & nonperishable foods for snacks

Battery-operated radio, flashlights and plenty of spare batteries

Prescription medications or any over-the-counter medications you normally take

Weather Update from National Weather Service/National Hurricane Center

Tropical Storm Nate is moving toward the north-northwest near 21 mph and this motion is expected to continue through Saturday, with a turn toward the north and northeast expected Saturday night and Sunday. On the forecast track, the center of Nate will move across the northwestern Caribbean Sea today, and move near or over the northeastern coast of the Yucatan peninsula this evening. Nate will then move into the southern Gulf of Mexico tonight, approach the northern Gulf coast Saturday, and then move near or over the northern Gulf coast Saturday night or Sunday.

Nate is forecast to reach the northern Gulf Coast this weekend as a hurricane. Rain totals have been increased slightly to 2-5", with local rainfall totals up to 7".

The threat of tornadoes will exist along the center of the storm and east of the center Saturday through midday Sunday. Long period swells reaching area beaches will result in a high rip current risk and increasing surf heights.

Storm Preparation Actions you can Take now

Fill your vehicle's gas tank.

Get cash.

Secure papers & valuables.

Refill medications.

Fill containers and tubs with water, even if evacuating - you may need the water when you return.

Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools.

Shutter your windows.

Prepare boats.

Help neighbors with their preparations.

If your plans are to evacuate out of the local area, secure your home so you can leave as soon as an evacuation order is issued.

If you are registered for transportation to a public shelter, be sure you have everything you need for your “go bag”.

Pensacola Beach

Red flags are currently flying on Pensacola Beach for high surf and dangerous currents. No swimming or wading is allowed in the Gulf of Mexico in red flag conditions.

Traffic Conditions

Check for Escambia County road closures 24/7 at www.myescambia.com/roadissuesmap.

In Escambia County, we work with law enforcement to close bridges for safety at sustained (not gusts) wind speeds of 39 MPH or greater. It is not yet clear if our area will have this level of impact.

The toll at the Bob Sikes Bridge will be suspended at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6 until further notice.

The Florida Department of Transportation has suspended interstate and highway construction in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties through Sunday, Oct. 8 to allow for the possible increase in traffic due to Tropical Storm Nate. All rail, transit and seaport facilities are functioning as normal. All construction activities will resume Monday, Oct. 9.

For the latest closures and updates, travelers can access Florida's 511 service from cell phones, landlines and online at www.FL511.com. For more information, follow FDOT on Twitter @myfdot_nwfl, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MyFDOTNWFL.

Sand Bags

Escambia County is not providing sand bags for this event as sand bags are not an effective tool for storm surge. Flooding is not expected for this storm.

If you would like to use sand bags, you can purchase sand and sand bags at most local hardware or home improvement stores, typically for a pretty low cost.

Office Closures

At this time all county offices are expected to be open on Monday, Oct. 6.

There are no planned judicial closures at this time.

All Escambia County Tax Collector’s offices are closed Monday Oct. 9, for a planned Professional Development Day.

Schools, Colleges & Universities

Monday, Oct. 9 is a scheduled professional development day for Escambia County School District teachers and staff, students do not attend school on this date. Staff and teachers should plan to attend scheduled professional development training sessions on Monday, as scheduled, unless they are informed otherwise.

All UWF locations will be closed Saturday, Oct. 7 at noon through Monday, Oct. 9. This includes all classes, events, campus activities and online courses. Normal university operations, classes, events and campus activities will resume Tuesday, Oct. 10.

Pensacola Day, a Pensacola Christian College Campus Church event for the Pensacola community scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 7, has been canceled.

Mass Transit

University of West Florida has suspended UWF Trolley Service on Monday, October 9th due to potential weather conditions from Hurricane Nate.

Escambia County Area Transit is currently running regular bus service for all routes.

For additional ECAT route and schedule information, please contact ECAT at 850-595-3228 or visit our website at www.goecat.com

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Gulf Islands National Seashore officials has closed all of areas of the national seashore including all Mississippi Islands, the Fort Pickens, Fort Barrancas, Naval Live Oaks, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and the Perdido Key Areas to all public use due to the approach of Tropical Storm Nate. All campers at the Fort Pickens & Davis Bayou Campgrounds must evacuate by noon, Friday, Oct. 6.

Utilities

Escambia River Electric Cooperative Inc. employees have been placed on storm alert, and the emergency response plan has been activated in anticipation of possible effects of Tropical Storm Nate. Members are encouraged to stay abreast of storm developments and take necessary safety precautions.

EREC reminds the public that, in the event of outages, crews will begin making system repairs as soon as safely possible. Members are also encouraged to be mindful of their surroundings and to take safety precautions in the storm’s aftermath.

Small Businesses

Businesses are encouraged to register ahead of the storm with the Florida Virtual Business Emergency Operations Center at flvbeoc.org. Registration is free and the site provides great resources for businesses before, during and after a storm. You’ll have access to a Business Disaster Toolkit, road closure info, resource listings, Business Damage Assessment applications, and information on aid such as Small Business Emergency Bridge Loans and SBA Disaster Loans.

Escambia County Parks/Youth Sports

Youth football and cheerleading games are still scheduled to play their Saturday schedule at this time. Please check the local youth football governing body, Northwest Florida Youth Sports Alliance, Facebook page for any changes.

Youth recreation soccer games scheduled at the Southwest Sports Complex on Bauer Road for Saturday have been canceled. Please check the league website at www.perdidobayfc.com or your league's Facebook page for updates..

All regional and neighborhood parks are expected to remain open at this time.

The Pensacola Bay Fishing Bridge will remain open Friday, and make a determination Saturday regarding possible closure.

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