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Florida counties prepare for Hurricane Idalia

Photo courtesy of FPREN
Photo courtesy of FPREN

Hurricane Idalia is expected to strengthen and make landfall somewhere on the Gulf Coast by Wednesday. Here's how counties in Florida are preparing for the storm:

Alachua County:

Alachua County will distribute sandbag bags (10 per car) at Wayside Park (11855 NW US 441) beginning at 10 a.m. Monday and ending at 5 p.m. At closing, sandbags, sand and shovels will be available for self-serve. The location will be opened and staffed again from 8 a.m. until noon on Tuesday.

The city of Gainesville sent out a press release with the following sandbag information:

  • Pre-made sandbags will be available today from noon until 5 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Public Works administration building, 405 NW 39th Avenue. To best manage traffic to the Public Works facility, City officials ask neighbors to adjust their routes and drive north on NW 6th Street, turning right (east) on NW 39th Ave. There is a limit of 10 sandbags per vehicle.
  • Bags and sand to make sandbags will be available from noon until 5 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday  at Citizens Field, 1000 NE Waldo Rd. Residents need to bring their own shovels to fill bags. A limit of 10 bags for filling will be provided per vehicle. Please access the site from NE 12th Avenue via Waldo Road, or travel south on NE 15th Street via NE 16th Avenue.

Alachua County Public Schools will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Hernando County:

In doing so, some schools are preparing to serve as temporary shelters starting Monday at noon.

In Brooksville, West Hernando Middle School will open to serve as a special needs shelter, while D.S. Parrot Middle School will serve for the general population and pet friendly shelter.
Hernando County will also open sandbag locations from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Linda Pedersen and Anderson Snow Park in Spring Hill, Ridge Manor Community Center and City of Brooksville Department of Public Works. This is a self-serve sandbag site only, so Hernando county officials ask to please bring your own shovel.

Schools will be closed Monday though Wednesday.

Citrus County:

Citrus County Commissioners says residents living in campers, recreational vehicles, tents or other structures unable to withstand the winds of a tropical storm, or who live along the west side of U.S. Hwy 19, are advised to voluntarily evacuate.

In preparing for the potential hurricane, two full-service sandbag sites are open Monday:

  • 7490 W Gulf-to-Lake Hwy, Crystal River (across from Dan's)
  • 4508 S Grandmarch Ave, Homosassa (off Grover Cleveland)

Full-service sandbag sites are currently open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Limit 12 bags per vehicle.

In addition, the following self-serve sandbag sites are available to citizens:

  • Bicentennial Park, 501 N Baseball Point, Crystal River
  • Citronelle Park, 7888 W Dunklin St, Dunnellon
  • Floral Park, 9530 S Parkside Avenue, Floral City
  • Homosassa Community Park, 4210 S Grandmarch Avenue
  • Ozello Park Boat Ramp, 398 N Pirate Point, Crystal River
  • Spruce Drive Boat Ramp, 4863 E Spruce Dr, Dunnellon

Self-serve sites are open 24 hours but are not monitored overnight for availability of supplies.

All after-school programs and extra-curricular activities are cancelled beginning Monday afternoon and going through Wednesday.
The following general population shelter locations will open at 1 p.m. on Monday:

  • Central Ridge Elementary, 185 West Citrus Springs Blvd., Citrus Springs
  • Citrus High School, 600 W Highland Blvd, Inverness

The following shelters will be opening at 4 p.m.:

  • Citrus Springs Middle School, 150 W Citrus Springs Blvd, Citrus Springs (Gen. Population)
  • Forest Ridge Elementary, 2927 North Forest Ridge Blvd., Hernando (Special Needs)
  • Renaissance Center, 3630 W Educational Path, Lecanto (Pet Friendly)
  • College of Central Florida, 3800 S Lecanto Hwy, Lecanto (Shelter of Last Resort)

Marion County:

Marion county has released the following locations for sandbags:

  • Belleview Sports Complex, 6501 SE 107th Street
  • Belleview FL Dunnellon Public Works, 11924 Bostick Street, Dunnellon
  • FLEd Croskey Recreation Center, 1510 NW Fourth Street, Ocala, FL
  • Jervey Gantt Park, 2200 SE 36th Avenue, Ocala, FL
  • Martel Recycling Center, 296 SW 67th Avenue, Ocala, FL
  • Tuscawilla Park (Reilly Arts Center), 800 NE Sanchez Avenue, Ocala, FL

Locations will be open from noon until 8 p.m. on Monday and from 7 a.m. until weather conditions prohibit operation on Tuesday. Please note that all sandbag locations are self-service, and bags will be provided

West Port High School in Ocala will serve as a special needs shelter starting Monday at 5 p.m.

Schools will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Levy County:

Levy County is under a storm surge watch, which is defined as the possibility of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland.

The locations affected are Cedar Key, Yankeetown, Fanning Springs and Fowler's Bluff.

Schools will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Bronson Elementary School will open as a special needs shelter and Bronson Middle High School will open as a general population and pet-friendly shelter. Both will open at 8 a.m. on Tuesday. The Williston Middle High School shelter will open when Bronson Middle High School nears capacity.

People who go to the pet-friendly shelter will need to bring a crate, food, bottled water and any medications for their pet. Owners also must provide a rabies vaccine certificate and proof of distemper parvo/feline distemper vaccine.

The Levi County Sheriff's Office said the count's animal services will provide vaccines for $10 per vaccine. If owners can't provide proof of vaccinations for their pets the Levy County Animal Control shelter will take them.

Dixie County:

Sandbags are available at the Dixie county Road Department at 149 SE 309 St, Cross City. There is a limit of 50 per household.

Dixie County High School will serve as the general population shelter starting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday. The Red Cross will be on will be on hand at the shelter to provide cots, minor snacks and drinks. Residents should bring their own bedding and clothing.

Bell Middle/High School will serve as the special needs shelter opening at 9 a.m. on Tuesday. People need to pre-register for this shelter prior to arriving by contacting the Dixie County Health Department.

Gilchrist County:

Gilchrist County's Emergency Management has declared a Local State of Emergency.

General population shelters will be open at 4 p.m. on Tuesday at Trenton Elementary School and Bell Elementary School. The shelter at Bell is also serving as a pet-friendly shelter. The special needs shelter will be opening at 9 a.m. on Tuesday at Bell High School's Health Academy.

Sandbags will be available at The Gilchrist County Road Department at 1170 US-129 Bell and at Trenton City Park.

Schools will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news