FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. - Flagler County leaders declared a state of emergency Thursday after learning that Hurricane Dorian is expected to reach Category 4 status before striking Florida.
Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord said it's still too early to order mandatory evacuations but everyone should be prepared.
"It will be a catastrophic event in our community. Even if the eye is south of us or north of us, the extent of the storm and the wind feel from that storm, we are going to have some sort of impact here in Flagler County," Lord said.
Lord said mandatory evacuations won't be announced until Friday and that there's a good chance zones A, B, C, D and F could be asked to evacuate.
The county will have two shelters that will open on Saturday. Rymfire Elementary School will accommodate people with special needs and Bunnell Elementary School will allow pets. However, all residents must sign up beforehand.
"As the storm gets closer and the forecast gets more specific, our goal is to narrow that down, but we rather everyone be prepared and ready to go," he said.
The Flagler County Sheriff's Office unveiled its upgraded military surplus vehicles for $2,000 from the federal government to replace their Vietnam-era high water vehicles.
"Deputies are equipped with chainsaws and wet water gear in case they have to wade through flooding to deliver water, food or rescue people," Sheriff Rick Staly said.
Staly said these military vehicles can glide through almost 4 feet of water and are able to plow through the flooded, low-lying areas more efficiently.
Flagler County has a notification system called Alert Flagler, where residents can register online. The system will alert residents by phone, text or email about evacuation orders and if people need assistance once the hurricane passes.
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