Lake and Sumter counties bracing for Hurricane Dorian’s impact

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Lake County residents fill sandbags this week in preparation for Hurricane Dorian. // Lake County photos

SEPT. 3 UPDATE: Many governmental offices remain closed and services suspended as Hurricane Dorian is expected to have its most significant wind and rain effects Wednesday across Central Florida.

As of 5am Tuesday, Sept. 3, Dorian was a Category 3 hurricane and storm surge continued in the Bahamas, according to the Lake County Emergency Management announcements. A tropical storm warning remains in effect for Lake County. For more information on Dorian, visit hurricanes.gov.

Lake’s Emergency Operations Center is at Level 1 – Full Scale Activation. The Citizens Information Line is open 24/7 until further notice. Those needing information should call 352.253.9999 or visit lakecountyfl.gov. To receive emergency notifications, register at alertlake.com.

All offices of the Lake County commissioners, including the Lake County Animal Shelter, Library System, Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller, Property Appraiser, Supervisor of Elections, Tax Collector, administrative offices of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Health in Lake County will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday, according to a news release.

Lake County Solid Waste will not collect on Wednesday. Most trash collection this week will occur two days after normal collection. Solid Waste also suspended bulk trash pickup until Friday, Sept. 6. The Lake County Landfill, 13130 County Landfill Road, Tavares, is open Tuesday but will be closed Wednesday. Any additional changes to collection following the storm will be announced. Residents are encouraged to secure yard waste and trash prior to the storm.

Lake County opened six emergency shelters at noon Monday. For up-to-date information, follow Emergency Management at facebook.com/LakeCountyFLEmergencyManagement and twitter.com/lakeemergency.

The city of Clermont also has closed all city offices and canceled sanitation services for Tuesday and Wednesday. All city facilities will remain closed until further notice, including all city parks and the Clermont Arts and Recreation Center, a news release states. Determinations have not yet been made for Thursday on closures or garbage pickup.

“The city of Clermont continues to closely monitor Hurricane Dorian and remains in regular communication with state and local agencies,” Clermont City Manager Darren Gray says in the release. “We urge residents to be prepared.”

Clermont activated its Emergency Operations Center this week after city staff helped give out about 30,000 sandbags from Aug. 29-31 at West Park. The city is no longer distributing sandbags, but Lake County has sandbags at several locations listed at lakecountyfl.gov.

For Clermont updates, visit www.clermontfl.gov and facebook.com/cityofclermont.

Lake-Sumter State College campuses remain closed and classes canceled through Wednesday. The next update regarding campus closures will be sent by 6pm Wednesday, through the LSSC Alert system, email, and social media. Visit www.lssc.edu/news/2019/08/lssc-to-close-8-31-through-9-4-due-to-hurricane-dorian/

In The Villages, all indoor and outdoor recreation facilities, including swimming pools, are closed through Tuesday, though that date is subject to change, according to districtgov.org. All executive golf courses will be closed through Friday, Sept. 6.

In Mount Dora, City Hall and all city offices will reopen at 10am Wednesday, a news release states. Waste Management Services will resume normal service.

For resources of information, call or go online:

Lake County – Emergency Management: 352.343.9420 or visit www.lakecountyfl.gov/offices/emergency_management or alertlake.com/

Marion County – Emergency Management: 352.732.8181 or visit www.marionso.com/emergency-management and www.alertmarion.com

Sumter County – Emergency Management: 352.689.4400 or visit sumtercountyfl.gov/718/Emergency-Management and www.sumterprepares.com

State & Federal Severe Weather Information –
Local weather: www.weather.gov
Tropical weather: www.nhc.noaa.gov
State Emergency Management: www.floridadisaster.org

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Operators at the Lake County Citizens Information Line.

AUG. 29 UPDATE: Lake County Emergency Management is monitoring Hurricane Dorian, with the latest forecast showing the storm likely having some impact on Central Florida. In response, Lake County has declared a local state of emergency, a news release states.

The Lake County Emergency Communications and Operations Center is now at Level 2 – Partial Activation.

At this time, preparation is key. Residents are encouraged to develop a family communication plan, decide in advance on a meeting location, and prepare a disaster go-kit including important personal, medical and legal papers to be stored in a safe place.

CITIZENS INFORMATION LINE

  • The Citizens Information Line is open from 7am-7pm at 352.253.9999.

SHELTERS

  • No county emergency shelters are open at this time.

TRASH AND BULK WASTE COLLECTION

  • Lake County Solid Waste is suspending bulk trash pickup due to Hurricane Dorian. Residents who have bulk trash are asked to secure it for later disposal when normal business resumes. Those wishing to dispose of bulk items before the storm may visit one of Lake County’s five convenience centers on Saturday. Convenience center locations and hauler contact information can be found online at: www.lakecountyfl.gov/departments/public_works/solid_waste/. Any changes to collection following the storm will be announced. Residents are encouraged to secure yard debris and trash during the storm.

DISASTER SUPPLY KIT

Nonperishable food (such as dried fruit or peanut butter)

First-aid kit

Extra batteries

Matches in a waterproof container

Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap

Paper plates, plastic cups and utensils, paper towels

Water – at least a gallon per person, per day

Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio

Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person

Flashlights

Whistle to signal for help

Can opener (manual)

Local maps

Pet supplies

Baby supplies (formula, diapers)

Prescription medications

GETTING YOUR HOME AND CAR READY

Clear your yard. Make sure there’s nothing that could blow around during the storm and damage your home. Move bikes, lawn furniture, grills, propane tanks, and building material inside or under shelter.

Cover up windows and doors outside. Use storm shutters or nail pieces of plywood to the window frames to protect your windows. This can help keep you safe from pieces of shattered glass.

Be ready to turn off your power. If you see flooding, downed power lines, or you have to leave your home, switch it off.

Fill clean water containers with drinking water in case you lose your water supply during the storm. You can also fill up your sinks and bathtubs with water for washing.

Lower the thermostat in your refrigerator and freezer to the coolest possible temperature. If your power goes out, your food will stay fresh longer. Read more about food safety after a storm.

Fill your car’s gas tank. You may also want to consider making plans with friends or family to get a ride.

Check your car’s emergency kit.

Move cars and trucks into your garage or under cover.

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Lake County Commission Chairwoman Leslie Campione, center, signs a local state of emergency resolution. // Lake County photo

AUG. 28 REPORT: Lake County Emergency Management is tracking Hurricane Dorian’s forecast, and the Emergency Operations Center was at Level 3 – Monitoring as of Wednesday, Aug. 28. Residents may call the Citizens Information Line at 352.253.9999 from 8am-8pm beginning Thursday, Aug. 29, according to a news release.

Sandbags will be available at five Lake County locations beginning at 7am Thursday. Residents must bring their own shovels and are allowed to take 20 bags of sand per household per 24-hour period. No tools will be provided at sand deployment sites and residents are responsible for filling their own sandbags. Sandbags will be offered only during designated times before a storm threat. No sandbags will be dispensed during storm conditions.

Pickup hours are from 7am-8pm at the following locations:

  • Fire Station 10
    23023 State Road 40, Astor
  • Fire Station 14
    18840 County Road 42, Altoona
  • Fire Station 39
    31431 Walton Heath Ave., Sorrento
  • Fire Station 110
    6234 County Road 561, Clermont
  • Solid Waste Residential Convenience Center
    1200 Jackson St., Lady Lake

In Clermont, the public also can pick up free sandbags from 8am-8pm Thursday and Friday, as well as from 8am-noon Saturday at West Park, 658 12th St., a news release states. The park is at the northwest corner of 12th Street and West Minneola Avenue, just west of downtown Clermont and between the Clermont Public Works facility and Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.

The sand and bags will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. City staff will give out up to 10 empty bags per vehicle per visit to be filled on site; the bags provided by the city are about 30×16 inches in dimension and hold an estimated 60 pounds of sand each. Citizens also may bring their own bags and fill as many of those as desired. City staff will be on hand to assist those in need of help filling the bags. Please bring your own shovels, as city provided tools will be limited.

The city of Clermont encourages residents to stay informed and to prepare by reviewing emergency plans and evaluating hurricane preparedness kits. Information and updates will be posted at www.clermontfl.gov and on the city’s Facebook page, City of Clermont Government.

Sandbags may be available in other municipalities. Residents should check with their cities for locations, availability and hours.

Mount Dora city officials also are monitoring Hurricane Dorian and remind residents to be prepared. The city has a website dedicated to hurricane information at: fl-mountdora.civicplus.com/1144/hurricane-preparedness.  Information also will be released through the Emergency Notification System. Residents may pick up a hurricane supply checklist at City Hall, W.T. Bland Public Library, and the Mount Dora Police and Fire departments, a release states.

“Lake County Emergency Management is closely monitoring Dorian and communicating with national, state and local stakeholders to prepare,” Thomas Carpenter, director of Lake County Emergency Management, says in the release. “Residents should have a communications plan in place, prepare a disaster go-kit, stock up on supplies, have a working NOAA weather radio and continue monitoring reliable sources for the latest information.”

To sign up for emergency notifications, visit alertlake.com. For up-to-date information, follow Emergency Management at facebook.com/lakecountyflemergencymanagement and twitter.com/lakeemergency.

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