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Charlotte County bracing as Hurricane Elsa heads toward Southwest Florida

Posted at 7:20 PM, Jul 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-06 23:59:01-04

CHARLOTTE CO., Fla. — Conditions are taking a turn as Hurricane Elsa makes its way across Southwest Florida.

One of those areas that could see potential flooding is Charlotte County. Conditions have been getting progressively wet throughout the day.

“Right now is not the time to be out and about," says Patrick Fuller, Director of Charlotte County Emergency Management.

That’s the message authorities throughout Charlotte County are telling residents. Rain has been falling throughout the day Tuesday, causing sloppy driving conditions. The change in weather is also raising concerns as Elsa inches ever-so closer toward Southwest Florida.

"Our main concern is ensuring that the residents here are paying close attention to the storm; they’re not venturing out as much as possible," said Fuller. "Rainfall is certainly a concern, some minimal storm surge between 2 and 4 feet is possible here. But we want our residents to make sure they’re paying close attention to the storm and they’re not venturing out. This isn’t the time to be out and about on the roadways.”

And yet, some residents took an early opportunity to walk their dogs at Hounds On Henry Park.

“Just going about my business, that’s about it!" said Bonnie Kenney, who lives in Punta Gorda. "My dog likes it- she doesn’t seem to mind!"

The site also served another purpose. A large pile of sand, complete with shovels and sand bags were all that remained after a sand bag distribution took place earlier. Residents say they’re taking all of the necessary precautions with food, water and equipment. They just sought the quick opportunity for their four-legged friends to get some exercise.

“I had to bring my dog out!" said Kelly Wetzler, who also lives in Punta Gorda. "Rain or shine, she doesn’t care you know? It has to be done so I’m glad that it’s not so blustery out.”

Some areas of Southwest Florida fell under a tornado watch, which can be quite common, as Fuller says, with tropical storms. The best plan, he advises, is to be prepared.

“If they fall under a tornado warning, the same rules apply as any other tornado," said Fuller. "Try to find an interior room in your home with no windows. You’ll get a few moments notice on a tornado warning over most cell phones and that’s when you need to seek shelter.”

Again, county officials are recommending residents throughout Charlotte County seek shelter and avoid driving unless it’s absolutely necessary. You can find more helpful information and tips when it comes to emergency management on the Charlotte County website right here.