MARION COUNTY, Fla. – Florida officials are preparing residents for the worst, as Hurricane Irma’s path churns closer to Central Florida, leaving many wondering how it will affect the Sunshine State.
Sunday night, as the storm was moving toward the area, Marion County officials issued a statement urging residents not to flush toilets, take showers or use water due to power outages across the region. More than 10,000 residences are without power.
"Without limits to water usage, sanitary sewer overflows are imminent. Customers are asked to remain patient, as electric utilities will not be able to restore power until winds subside," Marion County officials said shortly before 9 p.m. Sunday.
The Marion County Commission declared a local state of emergency Tuesday in anticipation of the severe weather Hurricane Irma could bring to the area.
Marion County Public Schools will be closed Friday, Monday and Tuesday due to Hurricane Irma.
Marion County Emergency Management officials issued a mandatory evacuation order for residents living in mobile and modular homes.
As county and city officials announce sandbag locations, shelters, and evacuations, that information will be updated in this story below.
- North Multi District Office - 8311 N. Hwy. 441, Ocala, FL, 34479
- South Multi District Office - 3260 SE 80th St., Ocala, FlFL, 34480
- Forest District Office - 16000 E. Hwy. 40 Silver Springs, FL, 34488
- Dunnellon District Office - 19995 SW 86th St., Unit 3, Dunnellon, FL, 34433
The city of Ocala will have self-serve sandbag locations starting on Wednesday, Sept. 6, through Friday, Sept. 8, starting at 9 a.m. until dusk.
Locations include along Watula Avenue in Tuscawilla Park and State Road 40 and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
Limit is 10 sandbags per resident. Sand, shovels and bags will be provided.
Evacuation routes and announcements:
Marion County Emergency Management officials issued a mandatory evacuation order for residents living in mobile and modular homes. Those evacuations should happen by 8 p.m. Saturday.
"Those living in these homes should know that if they remain in these locations, that emergency personnel will not respond to their location until it is deemed safe to do so," Public information officer Paul Bloom said. "Residents are encouraged to first seek shelter with family or friends living in a site-built home. If that option is not available, Marion County has several shelters listed below for residents to utilize."
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said asked residents Saturday to restrict driving beginning Sunday at 3 p.m. because of high winds. Woods said that if winds exceed 45 mph, first responders won't be able to drive their vehicles to answer calls of service.
The Sheriff also said that the State Road 40 and County Road 316 bridges over the Ocklawaha River will close if winds reach 35 mph.
Residents and visitors are encouraged to find their evacuation zone and route by county determined by the Florida Division of Emergency management in case of evacuations. http://www.floridadisaster.org/publicmapping/
Marion County shelters:
- North Marion Middle School (2085 W Highway 329, Citra) (FULL)
- Fort McCoy School (16160 NE Highway 315, Fort McCoy)
- Lake Weir High School (10351 SE Maricamp Road, Ocala)
- Forest High School (5000 SE Maricamp Road, Ocala)
- Hammett Bowen Jr. Elementary (4397 SW 95th Street, Ocala)
- Belleview Middle School (10500 SE 36th Avenue, Belleview FL)
- Madison Street Academy (401 NW Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, Ocala, Fl
- Dunnellon High School (10055 SW 180th Avenue Road, Dunnellon, Fl)
Special Needs Shelters:
- Belleview High School (10400 SE 36th Avenue, Belleview FL)
- West Port High School (3733 SW 80th Avenue, Ocala- Also a general population shelter) (FULL)
Special needs individuals can contact the Citizens Information Line at 352-369-7500 to arrange transportation to a shelter.
- Vanguard High School (7 NW 28th Street, Ocala)