A storm surge warning has been issued for Santa Rosa County, and related evacuations have been recommended.
“The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline,” stated the National Weather Service.
Santa Rosa County Emergency Management is recommending evacuation by 3 p.m. today for those within Zone A (light blue areas, including Navarre Beach and low-lying areas along bays and rivers). County officials say it may be unsafe to leave after that time.
Pensacola Beach lies within Escambia County, and evacuations for that area were ordered, starting at 6 a.m.
“In Escambia County, we do not use the terms ‘voluntary’ or ‘mandatory’ with regard to evacuations. When evacuation orders are given, residents and visitors are expected to comply as it is a government order,” stated Escambia County’s Public Information Office, adding, “If you live in a mobile home or have special needs, you should consider evacuation no matter the zone in which you live.”
To check your evacuation zone location visit www.santarosa.fl.gov/knowyourzone
“People can call (850) 983-4636 (INFO) for assistance in locating their zones,” said Santa Rosa County Public Information Officer Brandi Whitehurst.
Additionally, law enforcement is expected to close local bridges to non-emergency traffic when sustained winds reach 39 mph.
“Once this happens, you will not be able to leave via a bridge and may be stranded at your location. If you choose not to evacuate, you must understand that when sustained wind speeds reach 39 mph or storm surge cover roadways, law enforcement, emergency medical services and fire departments may not be able to come to your aid,” stated the ESC PIO.
A pet-friendly emergency shelter will open at 8 a.m. today at the Milton Community Center, located at 5629 Byrom Street in Milton. Photo identification and personal/pet/medical supplies should be brought. Those with special needs must pre-register by calling (850) 983-5360. Transportation assistance to the emergency shelter is available by calling (850) 983-4636.