Lake County offers 5 sandbag locations ahead of Hurricane Ian

As Ian approaches, county officials are rushing to provide sandbags to local communities

In Lake County, there are five sandbag locations, where people can pick up sandbags for free. Officials said they gave out more than 3,600 sandbags on the first day Sunday.

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – In Lake County, there are five sandbag locations, where people can pick up sandbags for free. Officials said they gave out more than 3,600 sandbags on the first day Sunday.

Many local communities in Lake County are concerned Hurricane Ian could cause flooding.

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County emergency leaders said they have shelters on standby and several disaster response teams ready to respond to any possible impact.

Caitlyn Albert lives off of Bay Lake Road near Groveland. She told me she’s seen flooding before during storms, and she just wants to be ready.

“Our yard definitely gets really flooded, just like where it starts going up to your ankles and stuff ,” Albert said. “Our landlord lives next door, so his house may be a little more sturdier if things get more crazy and hectic.”

That area is one of a few places across the county that emergency officials said they’re keeping a close eye on as Hurricane Ian makes it way toward Florida, including in many low-lying areas.

“Tree falls, that’s definitely a concern. The water inundation is a concern because of the ground saturation,” Lt. Ralph McDuffie, Lake County emergency operations center section chief, said.

In 2017, the seaplane base in Tavares was destroyed during Hurricane Irma, leaving millions of dollars in damages. It has since been rebuilt.

There’s also the town of Astor along the St. John’s River that often sees flooding during major storms.

County emergency leaders said they have seven disaster response teams made up of fire rescue and law enforcement, who are ready to respond if necessary.

“We will have literally full drive trucks, snap trucks, chain saws,” McDuffie said. “We will remove tree limbs from main roadways.”

News 6 got a look inside of the county’s emergency operations center Monday, where workers are coordinating emergency response efforts and answering questions from residents calling into their citizens information line.

As of 4 p.m. Monday, the center had received more than 500 calls.

Residents can call the Lake County citizens information line for storm-related questions at 352-253-9999.

You can find up-to-date information on Lake County sandbag locations here.

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About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.