County officials expect storm surge from Hurricane Irma, and residents are encouraged to leave the Key.
Siesta Key resident Ann Logan is prepared to weather the storm — whether she's in her own home or evacuates to a friend's.
As a full-time Sarasota resident since 2004 who bought her home on Siesta Key in the 1990s, Logan said she’s not planning to leave the Key unless county officials call for an evacuation.
That call was announced on Friday when Sarasota officials said a mandatory evacuation would begin at 2 p.m. from barrier islands, mobile homes and low-lying areas.
When asked if she would consider leaving even if the evacuation is just voluntary, rather than mandatory, Logan, 66, said “absolutely.”
“It certainly is prudent if it’s needed, so it depends on what is said,” Logan said. “And it depends a lot on what they’re predicting.”
The most recent update from county officials said Sarasota could feel Irma’s effects on Sunday or into Monday.
Logan said it’s just a waiting game for her, and paying attention to what officials have to say.
“I wait to see what things I have to do, and if it says it coming our way, I’ll just bail right away. And if it’s something that we can ride out, we’ll ride it out.”
Reports of Irma started making headlines over Labor Day weekend, and by Tuesday many Sarasota residents were preparing.
At Morton’s Market on Siesta Key, like many grocery stores around the state, water has been in high demand. The store ran out of water two days in a row, and continues to try to truck it in.
“People are looking for water,” said Todd Morton, the owner of the store. “They’re taking pretty much anything we have.”
Logan said by this point, she has a routine.
“I bought water, and I bought batteries, and I filled my hurricane supply box which has things like Tylenol,” she said. “I get my valuables together in case I have to leave and take them with me, throw a couple of sleeping bags in the car.”
Morton, who has lived in Florida his whole life, and has seen many hurricanes come and go.
“I see it edging a little further and further east,” he said. “The less my anxiety is as it goes.”
A hurricane warning is in effect for virtually all of the Florida peninsula, from the Aucilla River near Apalachee Bay to Fernandina Beach. Under the current forecast, Irma is expected to make landfall near Sanibel Island around 8 p.m. Sunday, then travel north very near the west coast, through the Sarasota and Tampa areas before moving north through the Panhandle near Tallahassee.
Tropical storm force winds are expected to begin in the Sarasota area around 8 a.m. Sunday.
For Logan, not knowing is the most difficult part of preparing.
“I think it’s going to be a dangerous storm, and I think it’s just one of caution,” Logan said. “I think the hardest thing for everyone is the anticipation.”