Hurricane Idalia Community Brief - August 29

Tuesday, August 29, 2023 | 

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Hurricane Idalia Community Brief

For Tuesday, August 29

As our community monitors Hurricane Idalia, Leon County Emergency Management continues to execute our emergency plans for this storm. County residents are encouraged to review their disaster plans now.

This cannot be overstated: Idalia is a historic and life-threatening weather event. In briefings, weather experts have called it catastrophic. It will reshape the coastline and could very well change the lives of County residents. That’s why we have been coordinating and leveraging every available resource for before, during, and after landfall. 
Idalia's forecast track has continued to drift west, exposing Leon County to greater wind risks including hurricane-force winds. Most importantly, Leon County is now under a hurricane warning from the National Weather Service. Based on this afternoon’s forecast, Idalia is undergoing rapid intensification and is expected to strengthen further into at least a Category 3 and possibly an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane by landfall.  
Hurricane Idalia has continued to move even more westward, bringing Leon County life-threatening wind, rain, and flooding. As early as Wednesday at 4 a.m., the County may start experiencing tropical-storm-force winds and lasting for more than 12 hours with periodic sustained hurricane-force winds. Due to the track's shift, we are now expecting four to eight inches of rain with isolated amounts of heavy rainfall exceeding 10 inches. Such heavy rain will cause deadly flash floods and will cause river and lake levels to rise.  
To be clear, at this time, we are watching even the smallest shifts in the track. A shift to the west dramatically amplifies damage, while a few miles east make all the difference. 
This underscores the need for all County residents to be sheltering in safe places, especially as Idalia continues to strengthen and bring life-threatening winds. Due to the severity and extent of expected storm impacts, we have issued an evacuation order for citizens living in manufactured or mobile homes. 

As our state continues to monitor Hurricane Idalia, Leon County and our local public safety partners are in coordination with communities across the region.

The following includes a list of resources for disaster planning in Florida:
  • contains a summary of currently open general and special needs shelters within the State of Florida.
  • The Visit Florida website contains current travel safety information as well as resources for hotel and lodging availability across the state of Florida.
  • The American Red Cross shelter directory contains a list of currently open American Red Cross shelters across the country.
Leon County teams continue the following operations:
  • Fully activated our EOC this morning and have begun around-the-clock Alpha/Bravo shifts to remain throughout the duration of the storm. 
  • Continued regular coordination with County and City work areas, law enforcement, and disaster-related community partners. 
  • Issued an evacuation order for citizens living in manufactured or mobile homes due to the severity and extent of expected storm impacts.  
  • The County and City have closed all sandbag location sites at dusk on Tuesday ahead of the storm’s arrival.  
  • We have contacted and will be activating our primary debris removal contractors to support road clearing efforts and debris pickup. 
  • We are making preparations to open the Main Library as a Comfort Station as soon as possible following the storm and evaluating opportunities to open additional station sites based on accessibility and facility status. 
  • We have identified locations to potentially serve as distribution centers and are actively working with the state as well as our community partners to obtain bottled water as quickly as possible.  
  • County Public Works crews and EMS first responders will begin staging tonight at sites throughout the County in order to expedite their response efforts following the storm. 
  • Community and Media Relations continues preparedness and resilience messaging on social media, on the Leon County Emergency Information Portal, the Citizens Connect mobile app, and other public information methods. 
  • Continue operation of the Citizens Information Line in the Emergency Operations Center to answer citizen questions and needs throughout the storm. 
  • Mutual aid agreements have been activated by the City of Tallahassee and Talquin Electric to assist with power restoration efforts.  
  • Seven general population risk shelters were opened today at 5 p.m. at the following sites: 
    • Chiles High School 
    • Lincoln High School 
    • Rickards High School 
    • Godby High School 
    • Sail High School 
    • Fairview Middle School 
    • Ft. Braden School 
  • Throughout the days ahead, Emergency Management will continue to coordinate disaster preparation activities in anticipation of response and recovery operations. And as always, up-to the-minute updates will be provided on Leon County's Emergency Information Portal at

Important Updates

Sandbag Locations - The County and City have closed all sandbag location sites at dusk on Tuesday ahead of the storm’s arrival. 
The County and City made sandbags available to the public at the locations listed below. All sites will close at dusk on Tuesday, August 29. 
  • Leon County's Northeast Branch Library, 5513 Thomasville Road (County) 
  • Apalachee Regional Park (Solid Waste Management Facility), 7550 Apalachee Parkway (County) 
  • Fred George Park, 3043 Capital Circle NW (County) 
  • At the intersection of Oak Ridge at Ranchero roads (County) 
  • Fort Braden Community Park, 15000 Blountstown Hwy (County) 
  • Mike Blankenship Skate Park, 2909 Jackson Bluff Road (City) 
  • Former Northwood Centre site off Tharpe Street (City) 
  • Springsax Park, 1000 Springsax Road (City) 
  • Jack McClean Park, 700 Paul Russel Road (City) 
County locations will be staffed until dusk to assist citizens. Sand, bags and ties will also be available until dusk for public use. Residents are asked to take no more than 15 (25 City) bags to allow others to prepare. 
Risk Shelters 
In partnership with Leon County Schools, the following seven risk shelters will open on Tuesday, August 29 at 5 p.m.: 
  • Fort Braden Elementary, 15100 Blountstown Hwy 
  • Chiles High School, 7200 Lawton Chiles Lane 
  • Rickards High School, 3013 Jim Lee Road 
  • Lincoln High School, 3838 Trojan Trail 
  • Rickards High School, 3013 Jim Lee Rd 
  • Godby High School, 1717 W Tharpe St, 
  • Sail High School, 2006 Jackson Bluff Rd 
  • Fairview Middle School, 3415 Zillah St 
Please note, Chiles High School and Rickards High School are the recommended pet accessible locations. All other shelters are pet accessible with limited accommodations. 
When evacuating from a hurricane and seeking shelter, it's crucial to be well-prepared to ensure the safety and well-being of both you and your pets. Here's a comprehensive list of necessary supplies: 
For Individuals: 
  1. Identification: Government-issued ID, copies of important documents (e.g., insurance policies, medical records) 
  1. Cash: ATMs may not be working; small bills are best. 
  1. Clothing: Enough for several days, including sturdy shoes and rain gear. 
  1. Food and Water: Non-perishable food items and at least one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. 
  1. First Aid Kit: Bandages, antiseptics, pain relievers, prescription medications, etc. 
  1. Personal Hygiene Items: Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, feminine hygiene products, etc. 
  1. Flashlights: With extra batteries. 
  1. Communication Devices: Fully charged cell phone with backup battery, emergency contact list. 
  1. Blankets or Sleeping Bags: For warmth and comfort. 
  1. Local Maps: In case GPS is not available. 
  1. Entertainment: Books, cards, or small games to pass the time. 
  1. Face Masks and Hand Sanitizers: For personal protection. 
  1. Baby Supplies: If applicable, bring diapers, formula, and other necessary items. 
  1. Special Needs Items: For elderly or disabled family members. 

For Pets: 
  1. Identification: ID tags, microchip information, and a recent photo. 
  1. Leash and Collar: For control and identification. 
  1. Carrier or Cage: To safely transport and house your pet. 
  1. Food and Water: Enough for at least three days. 
  1. Bowls: For food and water. 
  1. Blanket or Towel: For bedding and warmth. 
  1. Waste Bags: For clean-up. 
  1. Medications: Any prescription medications your pet may need. 
  1. First Aid Kit: Specific to pets, including bandages and antiseptics. 
  1. Toys: To keep your pet occupied and reduce stress. 
  1. Vaccination Records: Some shelters require proof of vaccinations. 
  1. Special Needs Items: If your pet has specific dietary or medical needs, make sure to bring those supplies. 
Always prioritize the most essential items as space may be limited. 
Office, School, and University/College Closures 

As of noon today, Leon County Offices are closed through Tuesday, September 5. 

For the City, City Hall and the Renaissance Building will be closed to the public on Wednesday, August 30. 

Florida State University's Tallahassee campus closed and canceled classes beginning at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, August 29, and will remain closed through Friday, September 1.    

Florida A&M University classes and University operations at the Tallahassee main campus, Quincy, and the Viticulture Center are suspended from 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 29, through Friday, September 1. 

Tallahassee Community College's Main Campus, Center for Innovation, Gadsden Center, and Ghazvini Center for Healthcare Education will be closed starting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, August 29 through Friday, September 1. 

Stay Informed

As Tropical Storm Idalia approaches Florida, Leon County Emergency Management is actively monitoring and executing our emergency plans for this storm. To stay up-to-date on Leon County preparedness actions, such as sandbag locations and preparedness tips, you have the following resources:
  • – The Leon Ready website is a hub of resources to help you, your family and your neighborhood prepare for disasters. There are a variety of resources available, like the County’s 2023 Disaster Survival Guide, a full list of disaster supplies for your disaster bucket, and so much more, to increase your readiness.
  • Download the Leon County Citizens Connect Mobile App - Completely redesigned, the Citizens Connect mobile app puts timely emergency notifications at your fingertips through push notifications on your smartphone or other device. Be the first to know about shelter locations, road closures and service changes by downloading the application on the Apple and Google Play stores.
  • Visit the Leon County Emergency Information Portal - Hosting the same information as the Citizens Connect app, the Emergency Information Portal can be accessed on a desktop or a mobile browser by visiting
  • Listen to 88.9 WFSU-FM - Citizens can tune in to 88.9 FM for the most up-to-date information from local public safety officials. Featuring to-the-minute reporting, WFSU, Leon County and the City of Tallahassee remain committed to getting information out on the radio as soon as possible.
  • Additionally, iHeartRadio will also provide updates on the following stations: WFLA-FM 100.7, WFLF-FM 94.5, WTNT 94.9, KISS-FM 107.1, X-FM101.5, and The Beat-FM 105.3.
  • Call 2-1-1 Big Bend - If you need community information, services and support any day of the year, Big Bend 2-1-1 is reachable by dialing either 2-1-1 or (850) 617-6333.
  • Call (850) 606-3700 with questions - Leon County Emergency Management staff is available to answer questions about how you should prepare, act and recover.
  • For updates on City of Tallahassee Utilities and other City services, visit
  • Insurance Helpline - The Florida Department of Financial Services offers a toll-free Insurance Consumer Helpline to assist Florida's insurance consumers. Insurance Specialists are available to answer questions or concerns regarding insurance coverage and advocate on a consumer's behalf to resolve a dispute with an insurance company. To receive assistance, call 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) toll-free, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Price Gouging - During a state of emergency, it is unlawful to sell or lease certain commodities for an amount that grossly exceeds the average price. To report price gouging, call 1-866-966-7226.
  • If you are looking for gas, use to report fuel prices and availability.
Plan now because when disaster strikes, it is too late to prepare. Leon County and the City of Tallahassee encourage citizens to put disaster supplies in a waterproof and durable five-gallon bucket. Keep these essential items near an exit door in your home or in your vehicle.
Some important items include a flashlight, medications, nonperishable food and water. Visit to view the 2023 Disaster Survival Guide for disaster preparedness resources and a full list of preparedness items.

Once you and your family have a hurricane preparedness plan in place, check on your neighbors to ensure that they have one, too. Neighborhoods that prepare together create strong support networks that are vital to a speedy recovery. In the event of a major disaster, your neighbors will be your closest resource and support.

It is important to know the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning. A hurricane watch is an announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 miles per hour or higher) are possible within a specified area. Watches are generally issued 48 hours in advance of hurricane winds. A warning indicates conditions are expected, and these are issued 36 hours in advance.

Prepare your home for strong winds by visually inspecting trees on your property for poor health and reducing the risk to your home by trimming hanging limbs. If you have any questions about your tree's health, contact a Certified Arborist to assist you.

Please prepare now. If you have any questions about how best to prepare, please call the Leon County Citizens Information Line at (850) 606-3700.

For current information about local preparedness and response, please visit .
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