The city of Tallahassee, Leon County, and Tampa Bay were among the areas where government workers were providing sandbags.
PREPARATIONS FOR TS MICHAEL: Okaloosa County is preparing for Tropical Storm Michael and offering sand for sandbags. https://t.co/8yPQN4nqvz
— WKRG (@WKRG) October 8, 2018
Eight locations in Leon County were outfitted with sand, bags, and ties as of Oct. 8, reported WCTV. Limits of 25 bags per household at city locations and 20 for county locations were placed and residents were told to bring shovels and fill the bags themselves.
Those locations included Tekesta Park, at Tekesta Drive and Deer Lake Road in Killearn Lakes; J. Lee Vause, 6024 Old Bainbridge Road; and Winthrop Park, 1601 Mitchell Avenue.
The Tallahassee area is expected to be hit hard, with a storm surge of up to 11 feet in some areas, National Weather Service meteorologist Wright Dobbs told the Tallahassee Democrat
Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Chris Savary told the Democrat that sandbags were available at the sheriff’s headquarters in Crawfordville as of Oct. 8.
Sandbag filling locations were also set to open on Monday in Apalachicola, Franklin County Emergency Management Director Pamela Brownell said. She also noted that officials are working to contact people on Dog Island as well as people who are living or visiting in RVs or mobile homes.
A number of sandbag filling locations were also set up in Pasco County, Citrus County, Hernando County, and Pinellas County in or around the Tampa Bay area.
Residents must be prepared to show a valid driver’s license or utility bill to prove residence in the county, according to WFTS.
⚠️11AM UPDATE KEY MESSAGES
1. #Michael now forecast to be a MAJOR hurricane at landfall.
2. Life-threatening storm surge along the FL Panhandle and Big Bend.
3. Tropical Storm Force winds arrive as early as Tues Eve.
4. Widespread Heavy Rain.#FLwx #GAwx #ALwx #HurricaneMichael pic.twitter.com/RGwMYX9ySA
— NWS Tallahassee (@NWSTallahassee) October 8, 2018
Tropical Storm Becomes Hurricane
As residents and officials prepare for the storm, it transitioned from a tropical storm to a hurricane on Oct. 8.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order declaring the emergency in 26 counties on Oct. 7 ahead of the hurricane’s projected Oct. 10 landfall.
“By declaring this state of emergency, Governor Scott is ensuring that state and local government has ample time, resources and flexibility to get prepared for this storm,” the governor’s office said in a statement, noting that part of the preparation was directing the National Guard to activate 500 National Guardsmen to help with planning and logistics.
In addition, 5,500 National Guardsmen are available for deployment if needed.
Scott said winds in excess of 100 mph could be seen in some areas, with a possibility of the hurricane becoming a Category 3 before making landfall.
Residents should be prepared to evacuate if necessary, he added.