CHIPLEY -- Tropical Storm Nate is expected to make landfall along the Gulf Coast on Sunday as either a tropical storm or hurricane, and while neither Holmes or Washington County EOC officials expect much impact here, both have declared local states of emergencies, citing "an extreme abundance of caution."
"The reason for asking for the declaration is to ensure everything is in place should we be surprised by significant shift changes in the track of Tropical Storm Nate in the next 12-24 hours that could pose problems locally," said Washington County’s Public Safety Director Lynne Abel. "I hope everyone, while enjoying their weekend, will continue to stay informed about the storm and its progression toward the Gulf Coast.”
Holmes County Emergency Management Director Wendy Mayo agrees, stating the county is simply taking steps to be proactive when it comes to public safety.
Florida Governor Rick Scott issued a State of Emergency on Thursday for 29 counties across the Panhandle, including Washington and Holmes counties.
Some forecasts show the cone of impact to be more westward directly hitting Louisiana, still touching Escambia and Santa Rosa.
A fizzling Hurricane Irma last month lashed South Florida with rains and sustained winds -- causing 27 deaths and leaving an estimated 7 million Floridians without power. Prior, the governor issued an evacuation for nearly 6 million.
"We take every system serious," Mayo said. "We watch it, we track the systems and pay close attention to them."
"But based on the westward shift of the track, we feel pretty good," she added. "As far as Holmes County, the EOC will continue to closely monitor this system and we will notify our residents if there's any significant changes that will effect them."
For more information from the Emergency Operation Centers, contact Holmes County at 850-547-1112 or Washington County at 850-638-6203.