CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — Charlotte County Emergency Management has issued evacuation orders for residents in Zone A - Red areas. Commissioners have also declared a local state of emergency.
The evacuation area includes those living on the barrier islands of Don Pedro Island, Knight Island (Palm Island), Little Gasparilla Island, Gasparilla Island, and Manasota Key, as well as residents in any zone living in mobile homes and trailers.
"Certainly those areas close to the coast have the highest risk of storm surge, which is why we evacuate for the most part," said Patrick Fuller, Charlotte County Emergency Management Director. "Shelters are being readied for opening tomorrow [Tuesday]. We always prefer the residents go tens of miles instead of hundreds of miles — clogging up the roadways, putting pressure on our roadways and running the risk of not being able to find fuel is a disaster in itself."
Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummel says if told to evacuate, he strongly encourages you to do that because they will not come to remove you. If you need help, he says it may not come for a while if they pull deputies from the road due the hazardous conditions.
Fuller says they are not expecting more evacuations at this time, but anything can change.
"We don’t focus on the thin black line," Fuller said. "We are still within the 3-day cone of error, so any deviation from that is possible."
In terms of flooding, Fuller said it's expected due to the saturation from heavy rainfall.
"Our public works teams will — both within the City and the County — go out and ensure the roads are clear and safe for travel," Fuller said. "Long-term we look at stormwater drainage and make sure our community’s able to accommodate large rainfall and storm surge events as best as possible."
When it comes to clean-up, County Commissioner Chairman Bill Truex said there's federal and local aid to help.
"There will be federal monies that will come in , but on the frontline we do have reserves ready to go to make certain that we can react and clean the debris up," he said.
To find your zone, visit www.CharlotteCountyFL.gov
WATCH NOW | Hurricane Ian Charlotte County