BRADENTON, Fla. - Manatee, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties have declared a local state of emergency, allowing county staff to do any necessary emergency actions during Tropical Storm Elsa.
Manatee County's Emergency Operations Center will activate to a level two at 8 a.m. Monday morning.
"It’s important for the public to monitor the storm and prepare for a possible tropical storm impacting our area," said Manatee County Public Safety Director Jacob Saur. "This will largely be a rain event but as the ground is already saturated, trees can easily topple from the winds produced by tropical storms in our area."
"Now is not the time to panic, but it’s time to finalize your storm preparations," County Administrator Dr. Scott Hopes added. "Our residents know the area best and they should begin to make alternate plans now if they’re usually affected by storm surges or flooding."
Although county offices are closed in observance of Independence Day, Manatee County’s 311 call center will be open Monday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. to field calls from the public about sandbag locations or storm preparedness questions.
Sandbags are available at the Stormwater Facility located at 5511 39 Street East in Bradenton from 12-7 p.m. on Sunday and 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Monday. Residents are limited to making 10 sandbags per household.
Manatee County leaders say their biggest concern is strong winds and storm surge, but do not plan on opening shelters at this time. There are also no plans for evacuation.
Manatee County residents are encouraged to monitor the news and the county’s social media pages for updates. Residents can also text ManateeReady to 888-777 for the latest messages from the county regarding any storm.
Gov. Ron DeSantis also has declared a state of emergency for 15 Florida counties, including Manatee, Pinellas and Hillsborough.