BROOKSVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tropical Storm Warning and Storm Surge Watch have been issued for Hernando County ahead of Hurricane Nicole’s arrival.
The Board of County Commissioners approved a state of emergency declaration for at least seven days.
“You don’t know how much rain is going to fall or anything,” Agnes Mejia of Spring Hill said.
She stopped by Linda Pedersen Park Wednesday afternoon to fill up sandbags for her home.
“When Ian happened, Spring Hill was spared thank god,” Mejia said, “but now we have to be ready ’cause we saw what happened to people hit by Ian. Even if it’s a smaller storm or weaker, no chances.”
Inside the partially activated emergency operations center, Hernando County’s public works, law enforcement EMS and other departments met for a final briefing Wednesday night before the county begins to feel the weather effects from Nicole.
“We’ve been getting messaging out since yesterday to our citizens here to prepare,” Deputy County Administrator Tobey Phillips said. “I feel like Hernando county pays attention but we want them to keep paying attention.”
While Nicole’s winds could knock down trees and power lines and cause flash flooding in spots, Phillips said the biggest concern is the potential storm surge Thursday night on the coast.
“If the storm moves out into the Gulf that is the biggest potential damage we could have here in Hernando,” she said.
As the conditions get worse overnight, Hernando County officials are encouraging residents to stay off the roads and that’s exactly what Mejia and her family plan to do.
“We’re just going to stay at home just watching the news and making sure we’re ready for anything that could happen last minute,” Mejia said.
Phillips said they are hoping to have a better idea of the potential storm surge from Nicole by Thursday morning’s 8 a.m. briefing.