Flagler County urges residents to prepare as Tropical Depression 13 continues toward Florida

'Prepare don't panic:' Emergency officials encourage residents to get storm preps in place

Save money on these items to build a hurricane kit during sales tax holiday
Save money on these items to build a hurricane kit during sales tax holiday

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – As most of Florida remains in the forecast cone for Tropical Depression 13, which is forecast to become a hurricane as it approaches the Sunshine State, Flagler County emergency officials are encouraging residents to prepare for the storm’s potential impacts.

The latest track from the National Hurricane Center shows the system approaching Florida as a tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane on Monday.

[FLAGLER COUNTY: Everything residents need to know before a storm]

While it’s too soon to know exactly how the storm might impact Flagler County, emergency officials said residents should at least expect to see heavy rainfall and increased rip currents over the weekend and into early next week.

At risk of sounding like a “broken record” during an already busy hurricane season, officials encouraged residents on Thursday to use the next couple of days to get their storm preparations in place.

[DOWNLOAD: News 6 Hurricane Preparedness Checklist]

“It’s that time of year when emergency managers start to sound like a broken record – but it’s for a reason. Anytime there is a tropical system approaching, it is a good idea for residents to ensure they have an ample supply of non-perishable food and bottled water,” Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord said. “It’s also a good time to clean up lawn debris and solidify your destination options should we have to evacuate your neighborhood.”

Emergency officials recommended in a news release that residents take time Friday and Saturday to make sure they have a plan and storm kit ready that includes seven days’ worth of supplies such as food, water and medications. Residents should also test flashlights and radios and replace any outdated batteries.

Flagler County officials want residents to know that they’ve done their part in planning this hurricane season, keeping the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in mind.

“In light of COVID-19, Flagler County and its emergency preparedness partners have taken additional steps to protect residents that may be unable to make alternative arrangements, and need to seek public shelter in the event of an evacuation order,” officials said.

[READ MORE: Here’s how the coronavirus pandemic will impact hurricane season in Florida]

According to the release, shelters will have separate areas for those who know they have COVID-19 or are exhibiting symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

All evacuees will be required to wear face coverings and have their temperature checked daily. If shelters are opened, capacities and movement within them will be more restrictive than in previous years, according to Flagler County officials.

“We just want people to be aware and prepared,” Lord said. “We will continue to monitor the storm and keep everyone posted about any significant changes via our social media.”

You can get updates on the system as well as tips to prepare for a storm at ClickOrlando.com/hurricane.

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