Northwest Florida communities making preparations ahead of Tropical Storm Nate

Photo: NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center

As Tropical Storm Nate marches towards the gulf coast, the county government, military, and restaurant owners have begun to escalate their preparations.

Yachts are pulled from the water and moved to safety.

Eglin Air Force Base has moved from Hurcon 5 to Hurcon 4 as they go through their readiness checklists.

The county has also started preparations. Okaloosa County Commission Chairman Carolyn Ketchel said, "Flooding and water, you always have to think about those things and of course because we are such a high saturation level in the county, on the panhandle, we have to think about if we have any additional rain, we'll topple trees and that kind of thing."

Although pontoon boats and many of the charter boats remain in port on the Destin harbor, the city's annual Seafood Festival was canceled due to tropical storm and insurance concerns.

Local restauranteur Dewey Destin has always participated in the seafood festival.

"It's disappointing but I don't know how the officials who were running it could make any other choice," Destin said. Dewey Destin's Harborside Seafood has begun to prepare the inside of the restaurant as well.

"It doesn't take a lot to hurt the things that are on the water's edge, our restaurant on the bay is right on the water's edge, so anytime they come, it makes us very nervous," Destin said.

Destin was spurred into action because Nate's storm track reminds him of Hurricane Opal.

"The surge is what usually tears things up, and so if you move your stuff away from where the water can destroy it and make sure you are away from where it can get you, you should survive these kinds of events," Destin said.

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