Officials have set up three locations where residents can fill sandbags ahead of the approaching storm.
Ahead of the potential landfall of Hurricane Dorian in Florida, Sarasota County began offering free sandbags to the public at three sites today.
From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., residents can get 10 free sandbags per household at these locations:
- Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St., Sarasota
- Twin Lakes Park, 6700 Clark Road in unincorporated Sarasota County
- South County Fleet Facility, 4571 State Road 776/Englewood Road, Venice
Several residents shoveling sand at Ed Smith Stadium today said Sarasota’s most recent encounter with a major storm was influencing their decision-making. Cousins Marina and Jim Butler live on opposite sides of the county, but both came to pick up sandbags together because of their experience during Hurricane Irma.
“Better safe than sorry,” Marina Butler said.
Vickie Miller ended up getting sandbags by chance. She arrived at Ed Smith Stadium to watch the last home game of the Gulf Coast League Orioles season, only to be surprised when she arrived to find the game had been called off and the parking lot had been transformed into a storm preparation station.
Miller, a resident of northern Sarasota County, figured the lines for sandbags would only lengthen as the storm grew closer. Although she didn’t intend to pick up sandbags Friday afternoon, she was keeping the worst-case scenario in mind as she got ready for Dorian.
“Evacuation is not on our minds, but of course we have water and nonperishable food,” Miller said. “Lots of peanut butter sandwiches, if need be.”
County officials are monitoring the storm, declaring a state of emergency today. Dorian is forecast to make landfall early next week on the east coast of Florida, possibly as a major hurricane with winds of 130 mph.
No watches or warnings have been posted in Florida, though a state of emergency has been declared for the entire state.