Suncoast watches and prepares for Eta
SARASOTA- Tropical Storm Eta continues to move slowly through the Gulf of Mexico, and all eyes are on where and when this storm will turn.
“This storm is changing by the not day, not hour, but almost by the minute,” Emergency Management Chief Steve Litschauer said. “So you just be prepared.”
Sarasota and Manatee Emergency Operations Centers are preparing and watching to see where Eta turns in the Gulf.
“We don’t know when are where it’s going to come back,” McCrane said. “If it comes back we’re calling that phase two, so we need to be prepared for that, so if you haven’t already put your hurricane kit together that needs to be done.”
Use this time to make sure you have enough things like food, batteries, and water.
“Pick up loose items around your yard,” Litschauer said. “Those fold up chairs, grills outside, make sure they fill up their vehicles with fuel in case we do lose power they don’t run out of gas.”
FPL is assembling across the state so they can be prepared for every possible scenario.
“So far we have assembled a restoration workforce of more than 12,000 men and women,” FPL Communications Director Bryan Garner said. “These are folks from 22 different states as far away as Canada, they are not spread out at logistics site all along the peninsula.”
Right now there are no plans to open Evacuation Centers.
“Those were all put on hold when we saw the track shift and we knew that we didn’t have to take those actions,” McCrane said. “Those actions can still be put in place if the storm on its return path through this phase two were to make a closer approach to Sarasota County.”
Now is a good time to know your zone, and find alternate evacuation plans… with reduced shelter space thanks to COVID-19.
“Focus on having an alternate plan to go to a shelter,” Public Safety Director Jake Sauer said. “It still remains one of the last places you want to be during COVID-19 or really during any evacuation.”
COVID- 19 testing centers do not currently have plans to shut down because of the storm. They may have intermittent closures due to rain in the area.