Santa Rosa County officials held an emergency meeting Friday morning to discuss the approach of Tropical Storm Karen. At the meeting, the board declared a local state of emergency, which allows the county to make formal requests to the state and FEMA for assistance if needed.
Forecasts from the National Weather Service call for a possible landfall along the northern Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Northwest Florida on Sunday morning. Conditions are expected to begin deteriorating in Santa Rosa County on Friday evening and Saturday as the outer bands of TS Karen reach the coast.
Storm surge from TS Karen could produce 1 to 3 feet of inundation for our area. During the hours surrounding the time of high tide on Saturday evening and into Sunday morning is when the highest water levels should be observed with a very slow water recession during the day on Sunday.
Wind gusts along the coast approaching hurricane force will be possible in rain bands, tapering off to 35 to 45 mph well inland over southwest Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle.
Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches with locally higher totals of 5 to 8 inches are possible mainly along and to the east of Karen`s center. Isolated tornadoes are possible.
No evacuation orders are currently issued. However, residents who do not feel comfortable staying in their homes and who plan to stay at an alternate location are asked to make their storm preparations and be at their destination by 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 5 in order to avoid hazardous weather conditions.
Emergency management staff is participating in planning meetings today and will be monitoring conditions overnight. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will activate at a level 2 or partial activation at 7a.m. on Saturday.
Public works crews continue to implement their storm preparation protocol which includes fueling of equipment, stocking vehicles, placing employees on standby for after-hours road clearing, staging equipment, and clearing of all known blocked drainage features.
The Citizens Information Line is open at 850-983-4636.
The American Red Cross is on standby to open a public shelter if needed.
The Central Landfill, animal services, the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier and the library system will be open on Saturday for regular operating hours unless weather conditions change.
Beaches to Woodlands Tour events:
Coastal Encounters at the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station scheduled for Saturday is canceled.
The postponement of the first Oktoberfest celebration at Juana’s Pagodas on Navarre Beach is postponed to Oct. 12.