Community Center (Lions Club) open for storm shelter

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By The Staff

"What we're finding is when low tide was supposed to go out it didn't go out. So we have concerns and information that water will be as much as 4 to 6 feet over high tide."

High tide is at 6:48 this evening and 6:06 a.m. Saturday, said Lt. Evan Sullivan, .The shelters are at:

- Cedar Key Community Center, the old Lion's Club, at 809 Sixth Street.

- Yankeetown Elementary School in the cafeteria, 4500 West Highway 40.

Both will be staffed by the Red Cross and trained volunteers from the Community Emergency Response Team. Security will be provided by the Sheriff's Office in Yankeetown and by the city police department in Cedar Key.

Red Cross worker Pat Massie, operating the shelter at Cedar Key Community Center, reminded people seeking shelter to bring a change of clothes and a pillow if they can remember it.

"We have bathrooms, but no showers, and we have cots and blankets, but no pillows."

The shelter may not be the most comfortable place, she said, "but at least it's safe and dry, and they can sleep and get a hot meal. I made sure there would be coffee."

The shelter at Community Center has MREs, hot and cold drinks, regular cots and cots for special needs people, soap and toothbrushes, and a small selection of games and coloring books for children.

"We're here, and we're ready to help," Massie said.

The shelters are open for voluntary evacuation. Sullivan said there is no mandatory evacuation at this time.

No pets or animals are allowed at the shelters. Evacuees need to bring any medications they are taking and clothes. Cots and MREs (military Meals Ready to Eat) will be provided.

The Suwannee River Water Management District is keeping an eye on area flooding due to the rains dumped here by the tropical storm.

There have been some power outages in the county, Sullivan said.

A power outage in Bronson affected Perkins State Bank and forced the early closing of the Levy County Courthouse at noon Friday,

But early voting icontinued at the Supervisor of Elections office next door .

The elections office, on Court Street in Bronson, will be open Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to accommodate the last day of early voting.

Supervisor of Elections Connie Asbell said her office was busier than expected considering the weather.

The school board had annunced Friday's school closings on Thursday afternoon.

Levy County Commission Chairman Sammy Yearty has signed a proclamation declaring an emergency for the county. The declaration helps in qualifying the county for federal disaster money.

The county is expected to continue feeling the effects of a weakened Tropical Storm Fay through Saturday as she crawls across the state, according to the National Weather Service.. A floowarning for Levy is in effect through 8 p.m. Friday.

Lt. Evan Sullivan, spokesman for the Sheriff's Office and Emergency Management said rainfall is expected to be between 5 to 10 inches.

Winds should be 5 to 10 miles per hour as the storm moves through, Sullivan said. He said winds were reported to be 50 mph at Cedar Key on Friday morning.

Sullivan is advising residents to:

Monitor the Weather Channel for updates.

Don't drive on flooded roads.

Be prepared with food, water and cash.

Stay out of the weather.

Sandbags are available at the following sites:

Inglis - Rischer Avenue at Inglis Police Department

Yankeetown - Hwy 40 West at Yankeetown Water Plant

Cedar Key/Rosewood - vacant lot across from grocery store

Bronson - Alt. Hwy 27 at Bronson Town Hall

Chiefland - 920 SE 4th Street at Chiefland City Barn

Williston - 54 SW Main Street at Ace Hardware

The information can also be accessed on the District's website home page at www.mysuwanneeriver.com

Quick links:

River levels: http://www.srwmd.org/realtimeriverlevels/realtimeriverlevels.asp

Flood information: http://www.mysuwanneeriver.com/index.asp?nid=253

River Flooding information from Southeast River Forecast Center: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/alr/

According to the National Weather Service, local areas to monitor closely over the next several days are on or near the Santa Fe River at Fort White, Three Rivers Estates, and the US 129 Bridge. If the area continues to receive heavy amounts of rain, the NWS predicts the Santa Fe River could approach or reach flood stage at those locations by Monday or Tuesday. Again, these are preliminary predictions. Please check back for updates once the tropical storm has passed and rain has diminished.