Emergency Management: Prepare for significant, rapidly rising rivers and creeks

Posted on September 15, 2020 by Staff reports

Hurricane Sally update #6

Sept. 15, 10 a.m. – Updates are highlighted
  • Sally’s track remains unchanged from the last advisory and the latest forecast brings the core of the hurricane near the Alabama and Mississippi state line.
  • A Hurricane Warning remains in effect for Santa Rosa County.
  • A Storm Surge Warning remains in effect for coastal portions of the western Florida panhandle. This includes Escambia and Pensacola bays.
  • There is still uncertainty in the track and additional shifts east are possible.
  • Surge forecast values of 2-4 ft for the western Florida panhandle are expected. Highest water levels on Tues. night through Wed., especially at high tides.
  • STAY OUT OF THE GULF! No lifeguards are on duty due to dangerous surf conditions. If you get in the water, NO ONE IS COMING TO RESCUE YOU. Navarre Beach live web cam – www.navarrebeachlife.com/live-hd-1080-zoom-cam.
  • Locally up to 30” of rain is possible in the western Florida panhandle will result in extreme life threatening and likely historic flooding. 
  • Sally will move very slowly as it approaches the coast and moves across our forecast area. This will lead to PROLONGED IMPACTS from damaging winds, storm surge, flooding rains, and isolated tornadoes.
  • LIFE-THREATENING and LIKELY HISTORIC FLOODING is expected, especially for coastal sections of south Alabama and the western Florida panhandle.
  • Tropical Storm Wind probabilities have remained nearly steady across coastal areas but decreased inland due to the slower movement of the storm. Santa Rosa County is at approximately 70-80% probability of tropical storm force winds.
  • A few tornadoes are possible this a.m. across the western Florida panhandle.
  • This tornado threat will likely expand inland later today through Wednesday.
  • Residents on Blackwater River, Coldwater Creek and Pond Creek need to make preparations and plans (that include pets) to move to higher ground quickly if needed.
  • Do not park vehicles in a low-lying areas overnight.

  • No evacuations are called at this time. However, you should always know your zone. Visit www.santarosa.fl.gov/knowyourzone for evacuation zone information.

  • The Citizens Information Line is open, call 850-983-INFO (4636) for questions.

  • Report damage via our Citizen Damage Report (https://bit.ly/2Rnogx8).

  • The next update will be after noon today.


  • Milton Community Center, 5629 Byrom St. in Milton (map), is open as a shelter. No pre-registration is required. There are no evacuation orders at this time, however residents in low-lying areas and mobile homes are encouraged to seek safer shelter.
  • Milton Community Center is also a pet-friendly shelter. Bring pet(s) in a carrier with proof of vaccinations and all pet food and supplies including water, leashes and/or litter boxes with litter.
  • Bring COVID supplies for you and your family or they will be provided for you. Masks are required in shelters.
  • Shelters are usually uncomfortable. Meals are not provided. It is recommended that other arrangements be made to stay at a hotel or with a friends or family in a well-constructed home out that is properly protected to withstand hurricane force winds.
  • Anyone needing transportation assistance to a shelter should call (850) 983-4636. Transportation will only be provided if winds are below tropical storm force (so call early) and will only take you to a designated shelter.
  • Bring the following items:
    • Personal identification
    • Water, non-perishable snacks and any special dietary needs.
    • A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes.
    • Toiletries and personal items.
    • Blankets, pillows and sleeping bags.
    • Games or toys for children; books for adults.
    • Special items for infants or elderly family members.
    • Battery operated radio, flashlights and plenty of spare batteries.
    • Prescriptions or any over-the-counter medications you normally need.

Road Closures


  • Three Mile Bridge is closed.
  • Tolls are suspended on Garcon Point Bridge.
  • Bridges ONLY close when sustained tropical storm force winds are observed by FDOT or law enforcement officials. If one bridge closes, it does not mean all bridges will close.
  • Bridges that typically flood include:
         Deaton Bridge/Deaton Bridge Road
         Wagner Bridge/East Fork Coldwater Creek/Spring Hill Road
         Red Rock Bridge/Juniper Creek/Red Rock Road
         Juniper Creek Bridge/Indian Ford Road
         West Fork Big Coldwater Creek Bridge/Walling Road
         Turkey Creek Bridge/Amos Cabaniss Road
  • For state and federal road closures (I-10, 87, 89, 90, 98, Avalon Blvd.), see www.FL511.com.

County Offices

  • Emergency Management is activated at a Level II for Hurricane Sally.
  • All county offices including the libraries, supervisor of elections, clerk of court and property appraiser are closed today, Tues., Sept. 15.
  • The tax collector’s office will be closed Tues., Sept. 15 and Wed., Sept. 16.
  • Any decisions on a Wed. closure will be made later today.
  • The FY21 Budget Meeting for Tues., Sept. 15 has been canceled and will be rescheduled.

COVID Testing

  • COVID testing at Tiger Point Community Center is closed today, Tues., Sept. 15.
  • Determinations on Wednesday’s Milton Community Center testing site will be made later today.

General Preparedness Information

  • Stay informed! Sign up for emergency alerts at www.AlertSantaRosa.com
  • Make sure you and your family have a plan for where you will live in a low-lying area and need to evacuate your home – and make sure your plan includes your pets.
  • Sandbags are available at area Lowe’s, Ace Hardware and Hall’s Hardware. Bring your own sandbags and shovel. Sand for sandbags is on a first-come, first-serve basis at the following locations:
    – The corner of Leisure St. and Citrus Dr. in Navarre
    – Tiger Point Park in Gulf Breeze
    – Pace Fire-Rescue in Pace
    – The corner of Pine Forest Rd. and Carroll Rd. in Milton
    – Crews will continue to monitor and replenish sand as weather permits.
  • For current weather events, visit www.weather.gov/mob. For information on preparing for disasters, visit www.santarosa.fl.gov/emergency.

Central Landfill/Waste Haulers

  • Central Landfill is closed today, Tues., Sept. 15. Any decisions on Wed., Sept. 16 will be announced later.
  • Waste haulers ECUA and Waste Pro will not pick up on Tues., Sept. 15. Contact your waste hauler for schedule adjustments.
  • All ECUA business offices will remain closed Tues., Sept. 15. Offices are expected to re-open on Wed., Sept. 16.

Navarre Beach Pier

  • Navarre pier is closed and will reopen once conditions allow.

Santa Rosa County School District

  • Per the Santa Rosa County School District, all Santa Rosa County public schools are closed today, Tues., Sept. 15. 
  • Any decisions on Wed., Sept. 16 will be announced later.

City of Milton

  • City Hall is closed.
  • All parks in the city limits are closed.
  • Regularly scheduled sanitation pickup for Tuesday has been cancelled.
  • Flooding is expected along the riverbank, so motorists are urged to use caution along Munson Hwy., Broad and Willing streets.

City of Gulf Breeze

  • The city has activated its Emergency Operations Center at City Hall. Residents with storm-related questions should call 850-934-5100. 
  • Shoreline Park South is closed to walkers, motorists and boaters. This includes boat ramps, parks facilities and parking areas.
  • Garbage service is suspended until further notice. A catch up schedule will be posted midweek. The transfer station is also closed.
  • Residents who experience rising water in yards should call the Gulf Breeze EOC at 850-934-5100. Should rising water become life threatening, call 911.
  • Gulf Breeze is coordinating with its Interfaith Disaster Resources Council, comprised of area churches, hospitals and schools, to prepare for post-flooding response. 
  • Sand continues to be available at Shoreline Park. Portable pumps have been pre-staged and additional pumps are available. 

Department of Health

  • The county health department is closed Tues., Sept. 15. A determination on Wed. will be made on Tues., Sept. 15. Staff are able to work from home on COVID. 

First Judicial Circuit Court

  • State courts in Santa Rosa County will be closed Tues., Sept. 15.
  • Normal operations are scheduled to resume Wed.
  • Judge Hilliard will conduct first appearances by video at 9 a.m. Tues. 
  • County arraignments will be rescheduled to 8 a.m., Sept. 29.
  • Delinquency hearings have been rescheduled to 9 a.m., Sept. 18.

Power Companies

Pensacola State College

  • All Pensacola State College locations, offices, classes and activities are canceled and the college are closed today, Tues., Sept. 15.
  • PSC plans to reopen on Wed., Sept. 16, but will continue to monitor the weather and send additional alerts if plans change.
  • Maintenance and security personnel should contact their supervisor for further instruction. 

Council on Aging

  • Pre-packaged to-go meals distributed from churches and community centers have been ceased and should resume Thurs., Sept. 17.
  • Meals on Wheels is suspended Tues., Sept. 15 and Wed., Sept. 16. Individuals scheduled to receive meals on Tues. or Wed. will receive their meals on Thurs.
  • The Retreat adult day care is closed through Wed., Sept. 16.
  • For questions on Council on Aging programs and services, call (850) 432-1475.

Gulf Islands National Seashore

  • Opal Beach is closed until further notice.
  • Highway 399, J. Earle Bowden Way is closed until further notice.
  • Park staff will assess conditions once the weather passes a