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With new reports that Marion County could possibly end up in the eye of Hurricane Irma, are mandatory evacuations being ordered for Marion County and communities like Ocala and Salt Springs?
The Marion County sheriff wrote on Facebook on the evening of September 7 that there were not mandatory evacuations for Marion County. That information is time sensitive and could change.
“At this time there is not a mandatory evacuation for Marion County. But, for those of you that would feel more comfortable at a shelter, we wanted to get this information to you as early as we could,” he wrote. “Shelters will be opening tomorrow (Friday) at 5:00 pm. We are making special efforts to help those that can’t help themselves.”
Hurricane conditions are now reported as possible for Ocala, Florida on Sunday night and Monday. The storm is unpredictable, though.
According to Gainesville.com, “The National Hurricane Center on Thursday evening changed the predicted path of Irma, saying it expects the powerful hurricane to crush the southern tip of Florida and head north up the spine of the peninsula, with the eye of the storm traveling over far eastern Marion County. Forecasters project that the new track could mean that far eastern Marion, near Salt Springs, could experience 100 mph wind, with higher gusts. Areas in eastern Alachua County near Orange Heights could experience 75 mph wind early Monday if the forecast track holds.”
The Sheriff’s Department gave the following shelter information:
“Emergency Management will be opening multiple shelters hosted by our local public schools beginning at 5:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8.
Emergency Management officials are encouraging citizens to bring supplies with them to the shelters to last them for 24-48 hours, such as clothing, bedding, medications, food, water, etc. If you are bringing your pet(s) to the pet-friendly shelter, they must be caged and you will be required to provide recent immunization documentation. Please bring whatever supplies are needed in order for your pets to be self-sufficient, and please pick up after them as well.
Registered sex offenders and predators are required to report to the Marion County Jail for sheltering. There will be law enforcement presence at all shelters for extra security.
General Population Shelters:
North Marion Middle School (2085 W Highway 329, Citra)
Fort McCoy School (16160 NE Highway 315, Fort McCoy)
Lake Weir High School (10351 SE Maricamp Road, Ocala)
Special Needs Shelters:
Special needs individuals can contact the Citizens Information Line at 352-369-7500 to arrange transportation to a shelter.
Belleview Middle School (10500 SE 36th Ave, Belleview FL)
West Port High School (3733 SW 80th Avenue, Ocala)
Vanguard High School (7 NW 28th Street, Ocala).”
The sheriff added, “We will have two special needs shelters operating at Belleview Middle School and Westport High School. These are for those that may be bed-ridden or wheelchair bound and in need of assistance. If you have special medical needs and cannot get to one of our shelters, please call the citizen information line and we will arrange to pick you up. This is a big effort and many of our county services are coming together to make this happen. We will even have a pet-friendly shelter set up at Vanguard High School. Your pet must be crated and please bring your pet’s immunization records. Scroll down on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook feed below to get a complete list of all of the available shelters.”
He stressed the unpredictability of the massive storm.
“What do we expect? Well, like you, we are monitoring the track of this storm and it is still a little early to make an exact prediction as to the expected amount of impact. But, we wanted to prepare for any possible scenario and have our citizens ready and informed with the latest information. As in times past, all of Marion County’s resources stand ready to help before and after the hurricane to help lessen the overall impact of this storm. Many of Marion County’s employees will be working 24/7 during the storm.”
See the Ocala area weather forecast here. See the radar for the area here.
The Sheriff’s Department also noted, “Marion County Emergency Management officials are expecting for Hurricane Irma to possibly pose a threat to the Marion County area over the weekend. We are encouraging our residents to prepare for severe weather to include possible flooding and high winds. Six hurricane shelters will open in Marion County Friday night at 5:00 p.m., and public schools will be closed Friday and Monday.”
The detailed forecast for Ocala is as follows:
“Tonight (September 7)
Isolated showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 73. Northeast wind 3 to 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
A chance of showers, with thunderstorms also possible after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 88. Northeast wind 5 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 9pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 74. Northeast wind 7 to 10 mph. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
A chance of showers and thunderstorms between 9am and 3pm, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after 3pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 85. Breezy, with a northeast wind 8 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm before 9pm, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 9pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 74. Breezy, with a northeast wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Tropical storm conditions possible. A chance of showers and thunderstorms, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after 9am. Cloudy, with a high near 80. Chance of precipitation is 70%.
Hurricane conditions possible. Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Low around 71. Chance of precipitation is 80%.
Hurricane conditions possible. Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. High near 79. Chance of precipitation is 80%.
Tropical storm conditions possible. Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm before 9pm, then a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 9pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 68. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly sunny, with a high near 87.
A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 70.
A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 88.
A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 70.
A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 88.”