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Tropical Storm Nate update #3
Friday, Oct. 5, 1:45 p.m.

Local Information
  • Santa Rosa County is now under a hurricane watch and a storm surge watch
  • A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible within the specified area. A hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds in an area. 
  • A storm surge watch indicates there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation in the next 48 hours.
  • A Local State of Emergency was signed by Commission Chairman Rob Williamson at noon today.
  • Emergency Management continues to monitor Tropical Storm Nate through the National Weather Service and State Emergency Operations Center. 
  • The Emergency Operations Center will be staffed tomorrow (Saturday) at a Level 2 partial activation beginning at 7 a.m. and will remain staffed as needed throughout the storm. 
  • There are currently no evacuation orders in Santa Rosa County.
  • Decisions on evacuations will be determined following the 5:30 p.m. briefing with National Weather Service today.
  • Continue to monitor local media for the most up-to-date forecasts throughout the day and follow any safety directives from local emergency management officials. 
Santa Rosa County BOCC
  • At present, all Santa Rosa County offices will be open on Monday. 
  • Any change to Monday's schedule will be made on Sunday and shared through email to staff. 
Santa Rosa County School District
  • Friday evening activities will continue as scheduled. 
  • Saturday evening events have been cancelled. 
  • At present, Santa Rosa County Schools will be in session on Monday
  • Any change to Monday's schedule will be made by 6 p.m. Saturday and will be shared through the school district's social media sites, phone notification to parents and through local media. 
  • FDOT has suspended interstate and highway construction in Santa Rosa County through Sunday, Oct. 8 to allow for the possible increase in traffic. All rail, transit and seaport facilities are functioning as normal. All construction activities will resume Monday, Oct. 9.
  • FDOT will assist first responders with traffic control, detours or road closures, but the department will suspend emergency response activities if Nate's sustained winds reach tropical storm force of 45 mph or higher. Once conditions improve, crews will go back to working around the clock to clear all roadways.
  • Motorists are encouraged to monitor weather reports and road conditions and to be on the lookout for flooded roads. If the road ahead is flooded, turn around, don't drown! Find an alternate route. Flooded roads may hide the fact that the roadway is washed out underneath and as little as six inches of rushing water can force your car off the road.
  • Any county road or bridge closures will be posted at www.santarosa.fl.gov
  • For state road and interstate information, visit www.fl511.com.
Navarre Pier
  • Navarre Pier will be closed as of 5 p.m. on Saturday unless weather conditions indicate it should close earlier.
  • The Take a Kid Fishing event, Navarre Fishing Rodeo and Fish Navarre Weekend have been rescheduled (pending approval) for October 21 and 22. For more information, visit www.takeakidfishingnavarre.com or www.fishnavarreweekend.com.
Pre-Storm Information/Preparations
  • Be safe! Follow all weather advisories.
    • Beachgoers, swimmers and surfers should heed red flag warnings and stay out of the water as deadly rip currents and rough surf conditions are expected.
  • Review, update or make a disaster plan. 
    • Check www.santarosa.fl.gov/KnowYourZone. If you live in a mobile home, or a surge evacuation zone, know where you will go and how you will get there. Shelters are a last-resort option. You will be much more comfortable with family, friends or a hotel. And don't go far - think in terms of tens of miles, not hundreds. 
    • Have pets? Download our pet-friendly shelter application and return to Animal Services. 
    • Special needs? Register online here.
    • Update your photo or video inventory of your home, vehicles and belongings and store online or on your mobile device.
  • Top off your supplies.
    • You should have three to five days' worth of nonperishable food, medications and at least one gallon of water for each person and pet per day. Remember, you can reuse clean, empty gallon jugs for water. Fill and freeze them to help keep your freezer cold (saves energy too!). 
    • Have a good stock of batteries and extra gas for your generator. Test your generator.
  • Check your yard.
    • Look around your house for dead trees or loose limbs which could cause damage in high winds.
  • Sand 
    • Santa Rosa County is making limited supplies of sand available at no cost at several locations. Sand bags are available at local home improvement stores for purchase (Hall's Hardware in Milton, Lowe's in Midway and Pace). Bring shovels to fill and load your own bags.
      • Leisure Street at Citrus Drive in Holley By the Sea
      • Tiger Point Park in Gulf Breeze
      • Pace Fire-Rescue in Pace
      • The corner of Pine Forest Road and Carroll Road in Milton
    Stay updated. Tracks can change quickly. Tune into local media regularly. 
Gulf Islands National Seashore:
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore is closed. 
  • All gates are closed except for Highway 399 between Pensacola Beach and Navarre. 

How bridge closures are determined: 
Santa Rosa County works with law enforcement to close bridges for safety at sustained wind speeds (not gusts) typically of 39 mph or greater. 

How evacuation orders are determined: 
"We encourage you to run from water and hide from wind. When National Weather Service issues a predicted storm surge for our area, we apply that to our storm surge decision matrix - based on our model data - and order evacuations by surge zone as necessary," said Emergency Management Director Brad Baker. "Hiding from the wind is a little different. If you have a newer home that you feel comfortable can withstand hurricane winds - and you don't live in a storm surge zone -  you can shelter in place during a storm. However, anyone who lives in a mobile home - or older home that may not be able handle sustained winds - should find a place to stay if evacuations are ordered. We always encourage people to stay with friends or family and evacuate in terms of tens of miles, not hundreds," he added. "Shelters are not the most comfortable places and should be considered a last resort option."

General information
  • More information is available in our latest all-hazards disaster guide online or at county offices and libraries, local chambers of commerce, and local retailers.
  • Your best defense in any disaster is a NOAA Weather radio.
  • Citizens may call (850) 983-INFO (4636) with questions.
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