Free sandbags go fast in Orange County as Tropical Storm Dorian approaches

Sandbags one of most effective tools for reducing flooding from storm

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – With Central Florida in the cone of uncertainty from approaching Tropical Storm Dorian, residents are grabbing free sandbags being offered by Orange County.

Since Aug. 19, residents have been able to fill up to 10 sandbags as a way to offset long lines typically seen in the days before a storm approaches.

County officials said some have taken advantage of the offer, which is now becoming more popular with the possibility of Dorian impacting the area as early as Saturday.

"I had to do this for Irma and it was a mess," homeowner Susan Rausch said.  "So I said, you know what?  I'm going and I'm gonna get them early."

According to Public Safety director Danny Banks, more than 120,000 sandbags were distributed in 2017 for Hurricane Irma, which led to long lines in the hours before the storm made landfall.

[TRACKING DORIAN: Florida remains in direct path of Tropical Storm Dorian | Latest track, models for Tropical Storm Dorian]
"We realized we gave out that many sandbags within a one- two-, three-day time period is almost impossible, people were waiting in line two and three hours just to get their sandbags," Banks said.

According to the county, sandbags are one of the most effective tools for reducing flooding from a storm. The bags won't stop water entirely, but they can drastically reduce the amount of water that enters the home.

"We'll put these in front of the French doors and any other doors to stop any water from coming in," Rausch said.

The self-serve sandbag program includes free bags, tools and sand. Orange County residents will be provided with a "how-to" instructional sheet regarding how to fill, store and dispose of sandbags.
Residents must present valid ID with Orange County residence.

Free sandbags are available until Aug. 31 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Sunday at these locations:
Barnett Park: 4801 W. Colonial Drive, Orlando 32808
Blanchard Park:  2451 N. Dean Road, Orlando 32817
Bithlo Community Park: 18501 Washington Avenue, Orlando 32820
Meadow Woods Recreation Center/Meadow Woods Park: 1751 Rhode Island Woods Circle, Orlando 32824                 
West Orange Recreational Complex: 309 S. West Crown Point Road, Winter Garden 34787. This complex has limited hours on Sundays, and is only open 1 to 8 p.m.

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