The city of Sarasota also declared a state of emergency. Officials encourage residents to prepare their homes and plan an evacuation route, if necessary.
Sarasota County officials declared a local state of emergency on Friday in preparation of Hurricane Dorian, which is expected to make landfall on Florida's Atlantic coast on Monday afternoon.
“That does not mean an emergency is imminent or there's a threat that's imminent, it means it's an administrative action so that we can start to begin expending emergency funds,” said Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane. “We can also start to put resources in place prior to the storm's arrival.”
Hurricane Dorian is still in the Atlantic Ocean, ramping up to a Category 3 hurricane. It is moving to the northwest at 10 miles per hour with 110-miles-per-hour winds, though intensification to Category 4 is forecast.
Some of the county's customer service operations such as libraries, utilities and billing information offices have begun to shutting down to transition into emergency operations roles.
Parks will remain open through Friday and will be closed throughout the weekend. SCAT will run Friday and will be monitored going into the weekend. It was due to close on Labor Day anyway.
“As we continue to monitor the storm, we will make determinations on opening any evacuation centers and the transportation-dependent program,” McCrane said.
Sandbags will be provided to Sarasota residents at three locations: Ed Smith Stadium, Twin Lakes Park and South County Fleet Facility.
McCrane said residents should have a plan that includes preparing their homes, picking up the necessary supplies and making the decision on whether to stay or evacuate.
For the most up-to-date information from the county, McCrane said residents should follow the county's Facebook and Twitter pages and check the county website. If residents still don't find the information they’re looking for, they may call 941-861-5000.