People are urged to leave the area if under order.
BROOKSVILLE, Fla. — The Hernando County Emergency Operations Center has issued voluntary evacuations for parts of the county considering the impacts from Idalia.
That includes areas west of U.S. Highway 19, evacuation Zones A, B, and C, all people living in coastal low-lying areas and all manufactured homes in the county.
Along with the concerns of wind, heavy rain, and flooding, the timing of this storm has county officials concerned. Idalia is expected to impact Hernando County overnight Tuesday, while most are sleeping.
“It’s going to happen in the middle of the night,” Hernando County Emergency Management Director David DeCarlo said. “It’s going to happen when it’s dark. The power is probably going to be out and will not be able to get emergency services in that area to help and rescue you. So please heed the warnings take the storm seriously and protect yourself.”
DeCarlo said mass power outages will be expected. On Tuesday, mandatory evacuations are likely to be announced.
“Tomorrow, we’ll go to level one activations, all 20 of our Emergency Support Function positions will be activated, and we’ll be going to 24/7 if need be,” DeCarlo said. “We’ll have shelter operations open as long as people are in there and need shelter.”
In a mobile home community in Brooksville, Mayor Blake Bell went door to door to make sure residents were storm-ready. Bell and his family helped residents secure outdoor furniture and items that could become storm debris.
“[Category 3] storms, it doesn’t care about a mobile home once they move through, and that that time it becomes very serious and that’s why we’re cautioning all mobile home residents to go ahead and evacuate right now,” Bell said.
Throughout the entire county, officials are asking people in manufactured homes to evacuate now.
“If you’re looking at a category three hurricane, you need to prepare for a category four hurricane,” Bell warned.
The EOC director, DeCarlo, stressed the importance of making a plan now. That’s because when severe weather strikes if conditions are too dangerous for first responders, emergency calls go unanswered until the storm settles.