Santa Rosa County evacuations, shelter information, Hurricane Nate update

Santa Rosa County is now under a hurricane watch, a tropical storm warning, a storm surge warning, and a flash flood watch. There is an elevated threat for tornados tomorrow and tornado watches are likely. Continue to monitor local media for the most up-to-date forecasts throughout the day and follow any safety directives from local emergency management officials.

The flash flood watch is in effect through late Sunday night. Nate will bring the potential for heavy rainfall to the area beginning on Saturday late afternoon and continuing through Sunday.

A recommended evacuation order has been issued for Zone A based on storm surge, not wind or flooding. This affects all mobile homes, campgrounds, RV parks, and those living in low-lying areas. Know your zone? Check to see if you are in Zone A.

Residents and visitors in the affected area are encouraged to seek refuge on their own initiative and independently obtain safe accommodations, ideally with family or friends in a well-constructed home outside the evacuation zone(s).

Based on the storms current projected track, evacuations should be completed by 3 p.m. on Saturday. It may be unsafe to attempt to evacuate after this time.

If you are evacuating, think in terms of tens of miles, not hundreds of miles. You can avoid traffic jams and uncertainty that comes with hitting the crowded highways as other counties evacuate and you can avoid the crowds when you return home. Evacuate as quickly as practical and in daylight if possible. Have a backup plan in case you cannot reach your intended location. Keep a full tank of gas in your car.

Be alert for washed out roads and bridges. Stay away from downed power lines.


An emergency shelter will open at 8 a.m. on Saturday at the Milton Community Center, 5629 Byrom Street, Milton. This shelter is a general population, special needs and pet-friendly shelter.

If you have special needs, you must be pre-registered in the Special Needs Registry. If you have not already registered, call (850) 983-5360. If you need transportation assistance to a shelter, call (850) 983-4636. We will only provide transportation to this designated shelter.

You will need the following items:

Personal identification

  • A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes
  • Toiletries and personal items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Special items for infants or elderly family members
  • Any special dietary needs and nonperishable foods for snacks
  • Battery operated radio, flashlights and spare batteries
  • Prescription medications or over-the-counter medications typically needed
  • Those with special needs must come with their own caregiver
  • A shelter map and additional tips can be found online

If you are bringing a pet, you must bring the pet's food, water, medications, crate or leash, proof of vaccinations. You must stay at the shelter with your pet. You must also bring a shelter registration form and use agreement (download below):

  • Pet shelter registration
  • Pet shelter use agreement
  • Do not bring pets to the animal shelter for boarding
  • Shelters are opened to ensure your safety. They are crowded and usually uncomfortable and should be used as a last resort.

Road Closures/Toll Updates

Beginning at 5 a.m. on Saturday, cash toll collections for Garcon Point Bridge will be managed through toll-by-plate to ensure the safety of toll collection staff. Cash-paying customers will be invoiced for tolls and NOT charged an administrative fee during that period. Cash collection is expected to resume at 5 a.m. Monday. Customers using SunPass and other transponders will not be affected.

Choctaw Field Rd. will be closed starting at noon tomorrow, Saturday, due to possible storm surge and expected to reopen on Monday.

County road or bridge closures will be posted at

For state road and interstate information, visit

Santa Rosa County BOCC

At present, all Santa Rosa County offices will be open on Monday.

Any change to Monday's schedule will be made on Sunday and shared through email to staff.

Santa Rosa County School District

Friday evening activities will continue as scheduled.

Saturday evening events have been canceled.

At present, Santa Rosa County Schools will be in session on Monday.

Any change to Monday's schedule will be made by 6 p.m. Saturday and will be shared through the school district's social media sites, phone notification to parents and through local media.


Santa Rosa County works with law enforcement to close bridges for safety at sustained wind speeds (not gusts) typically of 39 mph or greater.

FDOT has suspended interstate and highway construction in Santa Rosa County through Sunday, Oct. 8 to allow for the possible increase in traffic. All rail, transit and seaport facilities are functioning as normal. All construction activities will resume Monday, Oct. 9.

FDOT will assist first responders with traffic control, detours or road closures, but the department will suspend emergency response activities if Nate's sustained winds reach tropical storm force of 45 mph or higher. Once conditions improve, crews will go back to working around the clock to clear all roadways.

Motorists are encouraged to monitor weather reports and road conditions and to be on the lookout for flooded roads. If the road ahead is flooded, turn around, don't drown! Find an alternate route. Flooded roads may hide the fact that the roadway is washed out underneath and as little as six inches of rushing water can force your car off the road.

Navarre Pier

Navarre Pier will be closed as of 5 p.m. on Saturday unless weather conditions indicate it should close earlier.

The Take a Kid Fishing event, Navarre Fishing Rodeo and Fish Navarre Weekend have been rescheduled (pending approval) for October 21 and 22. For more information, visit or

Gulf Islands National Seashore:

Gulf Islands National Seashore is closed.

All gates are closed except for Highway 399 between Pensacola Beach and Navarre.

Pre-Storm Information/Preparations

Be safe! Follow all weather advisories.

Beachgoers, swimmers, and surfers should heed red flag warnings and stay out of the water as deadly rip currents and rough surf conditions are expected.

Review, update or make a disaster plan.

Update your photo or video inventory of your home, vehicles, and belongings and store online or on your mobile device.

Top off your supplies

You should have three to five days' worth of nonperishable food, medications and at least one gallon of water for each person and pet per day. Remember, you can reuse clean, empty gallon jugs for water. Fill and freeze them to help keep your freezer cold (saves energy too!).

Have a good stock of batteries and extra gas for your generator. Test your generator.

Check your yard.

Look around your house for dead trees or loose limbs which could cause damage in high winds.


Limited supplies of sand are available at several locations. Sandbags are available at local home improvement stores for purchase (Hall's Hardware in Milton, Lowe's in Midway and Pace). Bring shovels to fill and load your own bags.

  • Leisure Street at Citrus Drive in Holley By the Sea
  • Tiger Point Park in Gulf Breeze
  • Pace Fire-Rescue in Pace
  • The corner of Pine Forest Road and Carroll Road in Milton

General information

A Local State of Emergency was signed by Commission Chairman Rob Williamson at noon today (Friday).

The Emergency Operations Center will be staffed tomorrow (Saturday) at a Level 2 partial activation beginning at 7 a.m. and will remain staffed as needed throughout the storm.

A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible within the specified area. A hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds in an area.

More information is available in our latest all-hazards disaster guide online or at county offices and libraries, local chambers of commerce, and local retailers.

Your best defense in any disaster is a NOAA Weather radio.

Citizens may call (850) 983-INFO (4636) with questions.

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