- September 24, 2022
Sarasota County leaders on Monday ordered evacuations of the most vulnerable areas and residents, hoping to have everyone who is heading to emergency shelters by 8 p.m Tuesday, when the first of Hurricane Ian's winds are expected to arrive.
Emergency Management Director Ed McCrane said emergency shelters would open at noon Tuesday for those in evacuation zone A, which includes the barrier islands and residents who live in RVs, mobile homes and boats. Visit SCGov.net to check your evacuation level.
"Remember, all Sarasota County evacuation centers are in schools, but not all schools are in evacuation centers,'' McCrane said, directing residents to scgov.net/beprepared for information on where to go.
Of the 14 sites available for evacuation, 12 are for general use and two are for residents with special medical needs. All are open to pets.
McCrane asked that those heading to the evacuation centers eat a meal ahead of time and bring bedding, snacks and other personal effects of their own. "It's very important to bring a flashlight, as well,'' he said, adding the evacuation centers are a last-resort destination.
"We ask that you continue to make smart decisions,'' County Administrator Jonathan Lewis.
McCrane said it was likely the shelters would remain open at least two days.
Sarasota County Schools will be closed on Tuesday to allow for school personnel to prepare the buildings.
Sarasota County leaders declared a state of emergency also on Monday, authorizing the use of public funds and applications for state and federal financial assistance. Though no evacuation orders have yet been issued, a statement from Sarasota County Schools indicated such an order could come Tuesday morning for those living in the most vulnerable areas.
“As we continue monitoring Hurricane Ian’s track and potential impacts, residents are encouraged to review their emergency plans and prepare their go-kits,” Lewis said.
Read more: Hurricane Ian updates, news in Sarasota and Manatee counties
“As the storm approaches, we are here to serve our community with our schools and personnel to provide sheltering,’’ said Superintendent Dr. Brennan Asplen. We will continue to communicate updates with employees and families throughout the storm as information becomes available.’’
The city of Sarasota also declared a state of emergency. According to a release, municipal crews are out clearing storm drains, positioning generators to maintain water and sewer service in the event of a power failure and working with construction companies to ensure work sites are safe and equipment such as cranes are secured.
The declaration provides the city with more flexibility regarding expenditures and allocating resources, which may be necessary with storm surge from the Gulf of Mexico breaching portions of Ben Franklin Drive, additional localized street flooding, and the potential for wind damage caused by strong wind gusts and tornadoes.