The Gustav effect
Monday, 01 September 2008 03:47
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 September 2008 02:57
As high rain and wind gusts of up to 40 m.p.h. continue to beat down on Navarre Beach, Santa Rosa County Emergency Operations Center issues more safety alerts.
Santa Rosa County Emergency Management continues to monitor Gustav and prepare for the potential effects of the storm.
Actions by Santa Rosa County
- County Administrator Hunter Walker signed a local state of emergency at 11 a.m. Sunday morning.
- As a precautionary measure, a voluntary evacuation of campers, mobile homes and Navarre Beach was issued at 11 a.m. Sunday morning.
- Santa Rosa County is ready to take all steps possible to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors.
- The emergency operations center is at a level 2 or partial activation with key staff. All emergency staff are on call.
- The citizen information line is activated until further notice. The number is (850) 983- INFO/4636 or (800) 225-7421. Call volume has been high throughout the day.
- Public works has placed all staff on call, have staged equipment and are prepared to take action. Their first priority will be to clear roads for first responders.
• Any road closures will be announced as they occur.
• Standing water on Gulf Boulevard on Navarre Beach near South Carolina Street has been reported.
• Residents are urged to drive cautiously and if possible, avoid driving until the severe weather has passed. If you must drive, please follow these safety tips:
- The number one rule of rain weather driving is to slow down. Oil deposits on the road become slippery when combined with rain. The slower you go, the more traction you will have. Be extra careful at intersections where oil deposits are typically greatest.
- Leave extra space between you and the driver in front of you. It takes more time to stop your car in wet weather.
- Use your headlights. Headlights not only help you see better, but it also helps oncoming drivers see your vehicle.
- Avoid standing water. Not only is it difficult to judge the depth of standing water, but the water could also be covering a pothole which could damage your car.
- Stay in the center lanes where the road is highest and avoid lane changes. Water pools tend to collect along the curb and between lanes. The deeper the water, the harder it is to maintain control of your vehicle.
- Take special care when following or passing trucks. Trucks can generate a large spray, making it difficult to see the road and other vehicles.
- Slow down by either taking your foot off the accelerator or braking lightly. Always avoid having to come to a quick stop.
• The American Red Cross opened a shelter at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Milton Community Center- 5629 Byrom Street for special needs, the general population, and as a host shelter for evacuees.
o Shelter populations as of 5 a.m. September 1- 106 total:
6 special needs, 1 caregiver
93 general population- 59 Santa Rosa County residents, 34 evacuees
• Those with special needs must come with their own caregiver and call (850) 983-4636 before arriving at the shelter.
• Anyone needing transportation assistance to a shelter, call (850) 983-4636.
• If you go to a public evacuation shelter, you will need to take the following items:
- Personal identification and important papers.
- A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes.
- Toiletries and personal items.
- Blankets or sleeping bags.
- Games or toys for children; books for adults.
- Special items for infants or elderly family members.
- Any special dietary needs and nonperishable foods for snacks.
- Battery operated radio, flashlights and plenty of spare batteries.
- Prescription medications or any over-the-counter medications you normally take.
Power Outages/Downed Trees
- 4400 block of Pace Lane reported a downed tree and power outage
- Tree down in Allentown
Tornado Safety Tips
• What to do during a tornado:
- Go to interior or basement room on lower level.
- In a large building (school, hospital, etc) go to pre-designated shelter area or interior hall on lowest level.
- Get under sturdy desk or furniture if possible, use arms and hands to protect head.
- In a mobile home, RV or trailer, get out immediately and go to a permanent structure. If none is available, seek shelter in a ditch or culvert. Do not attempt to out-drive a tornado.
- Keep a disaster kit handy.
• What to do if outdoors:
- If shelter is not available or there is no time to get indoors, lie in a ditch or low-lying area or crouch near a strong building.
- Be aware of the potential for flooding.
- Use arms to protect head and neck.
• What to do after a tornado:
- Call 9-1-1 to report damage and injuries
- Be aware of debris and downed power lines.
- Monitor radio and TV for current information.
- Check family for injuries, move injured only if necessary. Check on neighbors when it is safe to do so.
Santa Rosa County Hotel/Motel Occupancy
- At 5 p.m., August 21, 36 rooms of 576 rooms are estimated to be unoccupied. Evacuees represent an estimated 95 percent of that occupancy.
- At this time, no plans have been made to close offices or cancel public school. UWF- At the present time, the university administration has announced that the UWF Main and Emerald Coast campuses will be open Tuesday. Students in affected areas who may be delayed in returning to campus Tuesday should contact the Division of Student Affairs at (850) 474-2214 or e-mail
Steps Residents Can Take
- Beachgoers, swimmers and surfers should heed red flag warnings and stay out of the water.
- Please do not call 9-1-1 to report power outages. Power outages should be reported to Gulf Power at
1-800-GU-Power (1-800-487-6937) or Escambia River Cooperative, Inc. at 1-877-OUT-EREC or 1-877-688-3732
Mariners should heed small-craft warnings and remain in port.
City of Gulf Breeze
The City of Gulf Breeze has established an e-mail list to provide community and emergency information to residents. Sign up at the City’s website: www.cityofgulfbreeze.com and follow the link under "Emails from the City" on the front page.
Official County Storm Information
- Updates, notifications and alerts are available by e-mail or text messaging during an emergency. To subscribe to this free public service, please log on to www.santarosa.fl.gov