• Nate is a fast-moving, compact Catergory 1 hurricane and while expected to strengthen to a category 2 by landfall tonight near the Alabama/Mississippi state line, strong winds do not extend much past the center of circulation. Conditions will begin to deteriorate quickly later today and will improve by late morning/early afternoon Sunday.
• Santa Rosa County is under a hurricane watch, a tropical storm warning, a storm surge warning and a flash flood watch.
• Storm surge of three to four feet is expected over typically dry land in coastal areas.
• There is an elevated threat for tornados today and tornado watches are likely.
• Recommended evacuations for Zone A. Please check our new storm surge map to find your zone. Call 850-983-4636 if you need assistance.
• Double red flags are flying on Navarre Beach. The beach is CLOSED to swimming due to very high rip currents. Stay OUT of the water. The high rip current risk will persist leading up to Nate and a few days after passage due to northward moving swell energy that will keep the risk very elevated. Please do not go in the water immediately after Nate’s passage!
• The flash flood watch is in effect through late Sunday night. Nate will bring the potential for heavy rainfall to the area beginning on late afternoon this afternoon and continuing through Sunday. Remember, TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN.
• ALL BRIDGES ARE OPEN at this time. Santa Rosa County works with law enforcement to close bridges for safety at sustained wind speeds (not gusts) typically of 39 mph or greater. There is no anticipated time if/when winds will reach that speed so there are NO SCHEDULED CLOSINGS OF BRIDGES IN SANTA ROSA COUNTY. We appreciate your help in getting that message out.
• Please DO NOT drive around during the storm. If wind speeds or storm surge indicate roads or bridges should close, they will close for first responders as well.
• County road or bridge closures will be posted at www.santarosa.fl.gov.
• For state road and interstate information, visit www.fl511.com.
• The Central Landfill in Milton is open until 5 p.m. today unless conditions worsen. The landfill will be open on Monday at 7 a.m. for normal hours.
Pensacola State College
• The college will close at 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7, and remain closed through Sunday, Oct. 8. All activities and classes, whether on campus or online, are canceled during this time. However, Pensacola State College will conduct the previously scheduled SAT testing on Saturday, Oct. 7. The college will resume normal operations, activities and class schedules on Monday, Oct. 9.
• A recommended evacuation order has been issued for Zone A based on storm surge, not wind or flooding. This affects all mobile homes, campgrounds, RV parks, and those living in low-lying areas. Check www.santarosa.fl.gov/knowyourzone to see if you are in Zone A. If you need assistance, call 805-983-4636 (INFO).
• Residents and visitors in the affected area are encouraged to seek refuge on their own initiative and independently obtain safe accommodations, ideally with family or friends in a well-constructed home outside the evacuation zone(s).
• Based on the storms current projected track, evacuations should be completed by 3 p.m. today. It may be unsafe to attempt to evacuate after this time.
• If you are evacuating, think in terms of tens of miles, not hundreds of miles. You can avoid traffic jams and uncertainty that comes with hitting the crowded highways as other counties evacuate and you can avoid the crowds when you return home.
• Evacuate as quickly as practical and in daylight if possible. Have a backup plan in case you cannot reach your intended location. Keep a full tank of gas in your car.
• Be alert for washed out roads and bridges.
• Stay away from downed power lines.
• An emergency shelter has opened at the Milton Community Center, 5629 Byrom Street, Milton. This is a general population, special needs and pet-friendly shelter.
• If you have special needs, you must be pre-registered in the Special Needs Registry. If you have not already registered, call (850) 983-5360.
• If you need transportation assistance to a shelter, call (850) 983-4636. We will only provide transportation to this designated shelter.
• Shelters are opened to ensure your safety. They are crowded and usually uncomfortable and should be used as a last resort.
• You will need the following items:
◦ Personal identification
◦ A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes
◦ Toiletries and personal items
◦ Blankets or sleeping bags
◦ Special items for infants or elderly family members
◦ Any special dietary needs and nonperishable foods for snacks
◦ Battery operated radio, flashlights and spare batteries
◦ Prescription medications or over-the-counter medications typically needed
◦ Those with special needs must come with their own caregiver
• If you are bringing a pet, you must bring the pet’s food, water, medications, crate or leash, proof of vaccinations. You must stay at the shelter with your pet. You must also bring a shelter registration form and use agreement (download below):
◦ Pet shelter registration
◦ Pet shelter use agreement
◦ DO NOT BRING PETS TO THE ANIMAL SHELTER FOR BOARDING.
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
• 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. today (Saturday) and will be shared through the school district’s social media sites, phone notification to parents and through local media.
• Cash toll collections for Garcon Point Bridge will be managed through toll-by-plate to ensure the safety of toll collection staff. Cash-paying customers will be invoiced for tolls and NOT charged an administrative fee during that period. Cash collection is expected to resume at 5 a.m. Monday. Customers using SunPass and other transponders will not be affected.
• Choctaw Field Rd. will close at noon today, due to possible storm surge and expected to reopen on Monday.
• 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.
• Navarre Pier will be closed as of 5 p.m. 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.
Gulf Islands National Seashore:
• Gulf Islands National Seashore is closed.
• All gates are closed except for Highway 399 between Pensacola Beach and Navarre.
• 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.
◦ 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.
◦ Limited supplies of sand are available 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.
◦ Subscribe to county news releases here.
◦ Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
◦ Monitor trusted weather resources: National Hurricane Center.
• Citizens may call (850) 983-INFO (4636) with questions.
• A Local State of Emergency was signed by Commission Chairman Rob Williamson at noon today (Friday).
• The Emergency Operations Center is being staffed at a Level 2 partial activation and will remain staffed as needed throughout the storm.
• 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.
• 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 and read Navarre Newspaper.