State of Emergency In Escambia for Delta
Hurricane Delta is getting bigger fast, and speeding up as it moves towards the Gulf of Mexico. Escambia County is under a state of emergency, as the storm is expected to hit somewhere along the Gulf Coast.
Delta is now a Category-4 storm. Its first target appears to be Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Forecasters at this time are projecting the storm will make landfall Friday afternoon or evening west of New Orleans.
“I just want to brief you on what protective actions Escambia County’s taking at this time, in anticipation of a possible landfall here in Escambia County,” said Emergency Management Director Eric Gilmore – who says they’re preparing for Delta, with Hurricane Sally fresh in their memories.
“We’re starting to preplan our shelters, our evacuations, our evacuation routes; and we’re taking this as [if] we’re going to get impacted,” said Gilmore. “That we’re going to have a landfall here in Escambia County. We want to scale up as much as we can to be prepared ahead of the storm. And we’ll scale back as needed.”
Gilmore adds that, whatever you did to prepare for Sally, do it again just in case Delta comes calling.
“I’ve noticed around town that a lot of you are getting gas, getting your generators ready, getting your water and your provisions and I appreciate that,” Gilmore said. “Take this time to prepare; it’s always best for you to scale up as well. We will be updating throughout the week, on our protective measures.”
For those who live in flood-prone areas, Gilmore says it’s vital to know your evacuation zone – A, B, C, or D.
“[Delta] is anticipated to downgrade before it makes landfall; but please, don’t plan on that,” said Gilmore. “Just plan as if a major hurricane coming into our area. That way, you’re best protected. Even if we don’t get the brunt of a hurricane, we are still susceptible to tropical storm-force winds.”
And, as part of your hurricane prep – have a plan ready to go.
“Are you going to evacuate? Are you going to leave the area? Are you going to stay with a friend, or a relative? We’ve got plenty of time and a lot of you are taking this serious [sic], and doing your plans and we appreciate it,” said Gilmore. “We’re going to be as planned as possible, and we’re planning for a landfall here, even though it’s identified as a Louisiana landfall.”
“Please – take those actions now.”
Next door in Santa Rosa County, the cleanup is also underway post-Sally, with some attention going to Delta.
“it’s going to continue to be a major hurricane for a while,” said Brad Baker, the county’s director of Emergency Management. He provided a slide presentation on Facebook.
“You can see a lot of this has shifted to the west; but still the impact could be off to the east side of the storm,” said Baker. “Which is where the storm surge and the high rip tides and things like that occur. So we don’t want you to let your guard down. Pay attention to Delta, still work on recovery from Sally.”
Two of the biggest killers related to hurricanes and tropical storms are rip currents and drownings, and Delta likely is no exception.
“We expect dangerous surf, 6-10 feet; by Friday afternoon [we’re] probably already starting to see some of the rough surf starting now,” Baker said. “So really pay attention; if you’re not a strong swimmer just stay out of the water as we fly those red flags. We don’t want to have to send lifeguards or anybody out there trying to rescue.”
Meanwhile, FEMA continues to take applications for disaster assistance related to Hurricane Sally. More details are at www.disasterassistance.gov.