UPDATE: Due to the continuation of severe rain fall and state of emergency, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America has issued a release urging Alabama and Florida residents with flood damage to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The release offered tips on handling a flood situation:
- Keep all related receipts to submit to your insurance company later.
- Report all damage to your insurance company or agent as soon as possible.
- Make a list of damaged items.
- Identify and make a list of structural damage to your home.
- Don’t throw out damaged furniture or other expensive items. PCI also recommends taking photographs of the damage before cleaning it up.
Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 26 counties, including Alachua County, to support emergency response operations for communities affected by heavy rains on Wednesday morning.
In the executive order starting Tuesday, Scott said a frontal system over Florida’s Panhandle and Big Bend regions produced heavy rainfall in excess of ten inches in some areas.
The National Weather Service issued a flood or flash flood warning in several counties, including counties in North Central Florida. For Alachua County, the National Weather Service said a flood warning will continue for the Santa Fe River at Fort White until further notice or until the warning is canceled.
Due to the recent rainfall, many other rivers in the north and northwest regions are forecast to rise above flood stage and crest later in the week, Scott said.
Some roadways are currently closed, and Scott said it is anticipated that additional roadways along these rivers will also be closed and traffic re-routed. Local evacuations may be necessary to protect residential communities along the waterways.
Scott said he is responsible for helping the affected counties recovering from these storms and ensures timely precautions have been taken to protect these communities from the threat of additional severe weather in the coming days.
The governor has issued an executive order, which allows state agencies to become involved in assisting counties impacted by this weather, said David Donnelly, emergency management director of Alachua County.
“We’re included in the declaration because while at this point we’re not seeing the impacts of flooding, certainly if we continue to get rain and to get the rain from the north of us, the Suwannee River backing up and flooding usually causes the Santa Fe to back up as well,” Donelly said.
Donelly said it is important to focus on staying informed about severe weather in one’s area and prepare while facing a weather emergency.
“Right now, we’re monitoring any response to these storms,” said Mark Johnson, director of Levy County Emergency Management.
Johnson said the executive order is the last step before the governor will request and make an application to the federal government for a presidential disaster order.
Levy County was mentioned in the executive order due to the Suwannee River flooding.
“Minor flooding starts to occur at 5.5 feet,” Johnson said. “Right now the flood stage on the gage is at 6.1 feet at Fowlers Bluff, and the projections of the Southeast River Forecast (Center) have the water going up to about 6.7 feet by the weekend.”