9 a.m. UPDATE
HOLMES and WASHINGTON COUNTIES - Please be advised that all Holmes County and Washington County emergency responders will be taken off the roads when 45 mph sustained winds are reached locally, which is anticipated to occur around 10:30 - 11 a.m.
Officials urge all residents to stay off the roads until the storm passes. If you need to go to a shelter, don’t delay. GO NOW.
Should you need transportation to a local shelter in Holmes County, call 850-547-3681 (Option 1) and request assistance. For non-emergency request in Washington County, call the EOC at 850-638-6203.
7:15 a.m. UPDATE
HOLMES COUNTY - Holmes County Office of Emergency Management is asking all residents seeking shelter at one of the county's three hurricane shelters to be at a shelter no later than 10 a.m. today.
After 10 a.m., residents are urged to remain off the roads and find a safe place inside their homes until the worst of the storm has passed.
11 p.m. UPDATE
WASHINGTON COUNTY - A shelter-of-last-resort will open at Vernon Middle School, 3190 Moss Hill Road, at midnight to assist in accomodating neighboring counties that have shelters at capacity, a Washington County Emergency Management news release states.
No pets will be allowed at the VMS shelter. Also, there is no air conditioning nor food available.
"This will not be a comfortable location but simply a safe place," the news release states. "We encourage everyone to consider sheltering at our Red Cross Shelter at Roulhac Middle School in Chipley."
Individuals seeking shelter at this locations should bring their own snacks, medications, and bedding. Law Enforcement will be on site.
6 p.m. UPDATE
WASHINGTON AND HOLMES COUNTIES - With Hurricane Michael quickly strengthening to a Category 3 storm system shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday, officials with Emergency Management caution residents wind conditions may be too strong for emergency personnel to respond to emergency calls.
"Washington County will likely begin to experience 45 mph sustained winds between 2 and 6 a.m. on Wednesday," the 6 p.m. Washington County EOC advisory states. "When that occurs, conditions will be too dangerous for emergency personnel to respond. "
With sustained hurricane force winds as high as 110 mph, officials predict conditions will continue to deteriorate throughout Wednesday and then begin to improve over night. Tropical storm force winds are expected until 6 to 8 a.m. Thursday, the advisory stated. The storm is moving at about 12 mph.
Residents living in mobile homes or any unsafe structure are advised to promptly seek shelter.
In Washington County, a Red Cross shelter is opened at Roulhac Middle School, 1535 Brickyard Road, in Chipley, and a special needs shelter is located at WAVE School on the same campus on the former fifth grade wing.
Washington County officials encourage residents to use alternative numbers for non-emergencies as an effort to not inundate the 911 line: EOC - 850-638-6203, Sheriff's Office - 850-638-6111, Washington County Board of County Commissioners - 850-638-6200, and Public Works - 850-638-6280.
In Holmes County, a pet-friendly general population and special needs shelter Tuesday morning at Poplar Springs School, 3726 Atomic Drive, in Graceville. A general population only shelter was opened at New Hope Volunteer Fire Department, 1969 Highway 2, in Westville.
Holmes County residents in need of transportation to getting to one of the local emergency shelters, may contact Holmes County Sheriff's Office or Emergency Management by calling the Holmes County Communications Centers at 850-547-3681, Option 1. Officials urge those in need of transportation to make arrangements with the offices as soon as possible.
Also, Holmes County officials direct non-emergency calls, such as a downed tree, to the Sheriff's Office at 850-547-3681 or the EOC at 850-547-1112.
Officials noted that it is always safest to move outside the Hurricane Warning area if possible.