Now that hurricane conditions are possible for Orlando, Florida, is Orlando evacuating?
At 4 p.m. on September 6, emergency management officials in Orlando and Orange County held a press conference and said that they don’t recommend that people evacuate their homes as long as they are not in mobile or manufactured homes. Be aware that this is very time sensitive information and could always change. The mayor led the press conference.
Ronald Plummer, manager of the Orange County office of emergency management, said: “We are an inland county. We don’t recommend you to evacuate your home, if you are in a site-built home. We’re going to be in touch with individuals in manufactured or mobile home parks, and those in low-lying areas.” He said that authorities have a shelter plan in place and will give that information to the latter individuals.
Watch the press conference here:
Recent forecast models for September 6 showed that Hurricane Irma is now projected to be shifting eastward and north. Orlando is now in the forecast cone. That doesn’t mean Orlando and Orange County will be hit by the hurricane; it means it’s more possible than it was before.
The National Weather Service is now forecasting the possibility of Hurricane conditions for Sunday in Orlando.
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs urged citizens to avoid alarm but prepare. “We continue to closely monitor the path of Hurricane Irma. Our emergency management operations center remains in a monitoring level,” she said on September 6. “We’re hoping and praying that it continues to veer to the east.”
Jacobs said the city was preparing in case the hurricane strikes Orlando and added that Orlando was a place that a lot of people come to shelter. She noted that Orange County has started offering its residents sandbags. An ID is required. See this map for where you can get sandbags.
The mayor said the city already has pump stations set up in low lying areas. She said the city is preparing for what could be a “significant water storm at a minimum.” See the Orange County storm preparation handout here.
Follow Orange County’s Hurricane Irma updates here.
As of Wednesday, Sept. 6, Orange County Public Schools will be open on Thursday and Friday, the county reports.
“We don’t want people to be alarmed… but we want people to be prepared,” she said. “I want people to be prepared, but I don’t want them to panic.”
The mayor said that the earliest Orange County and Orlando would be opening shelters would likely be Saturday “but we are going to remain incredibly fluid. We do want our citizens to be prepared if they need to shelter.”
People needing non-emergency information should call 311, the mayor said. She said that she doesn’t think Orlando will get the type of massive rainfall that Houston experienced but the strength of the storm means it needs to be taken very seriously.
The mayor also said that authorities were making a concerted effort to reach out to homeless people in advance of the storm.
Ray Hanson, director of Orange County Utilities, said there is a shortage of water in some grocery stores but that authorities believe it’s a temporary supply issue and that many grocery stores are restocking water.
“People should have water put away in the unlikely chance we have interruption in our water supply,” he said.
Authorities also recommend that people prepare by filling up a bathtub with water that they can use if necessary for things like flushing toilets.
The mayor said there’s potential for wind and “some flooding.”
Plummer suggested that people prepare a plan to “identify what you’re going to do if a storm comes.” He suggested having a weather radio, water, necessary medicine and cash on hand, and to have extra batteries.
Authorities also said they will be setting up special needs shelters, especially for people dependent on anything requiring power. Those probably won’t open until Saturday morning, either, and the locations have not yet been announced.