High-water rescue vehicles readied in Pasco Co.

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Pasco County crews readied their high-water rescue vehicles ahead of likely flooding due to Hurricane Michael’s storm surge.

But officials say rescues can be avoided if people don't let their guard down and evacuate if their neighborhood is prone to flooding.

“When we come in to get you, you won't be able to grab all your personal belongings. It’s going to be you, your family members, your pets,” Pasco County Fire Rescue’s Corey Dierdorff warned Tuesday.

At the Fansano Regional Shelter, only a handful of people heeded warnings from officials, who urged anyone west of US 19 to evacuate. According to Pasco County Fire Rescue, nearly 70,000 people live in that area.

Tuesday night, a family three was at the regional shelter. Caroline Yachymczyk’s husband has to have oxygen around the clock. When there’s a storm like Michael, they don’t take any chances.

“Last year we were out of power for nine days so we're grateful there's a place for special needs,” Caroline said.

With oxygen tanks, hot meals, bottled water, and medical attention readily available, this small, but wise group knows staying at a shelter is their safest option.

“We drove ourselves here and we know it's here and it's what we need,” Caroline added.

That's the mentality Pasco County officials stressed throughout Tuesday.  

Pasco officials say storm surge is their biggest concern. The county issued a local state of emergency which will allow activation of extra resources for whatever comes their way.