MANATEE COUNTY, Ala. (WFLA) — Manatee and Pinellas County officials declared a local state of emergency Sunday ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa, which is expected to make its first impacts on Florida Tuesday.

This follows Gov. Ron DeSantis’ state of emergency Saturday, which applied to much of the west coast.

“Now is not the time to panic, but it’s time to finalize your storm preparations,” said Manatee County Administrator Dr. Scott Hopes. “Our residents know the area best and they should begin to make alternate plans now if they’re usually affected by storm surges or flooding.” 

According to a county release, the Manatee County’s emergency operations center will activate to a level two at 8 a.m. Monday.

“It’s important for the public to monitor the storm and prepare for a possible tropical storm impacting our area,” Public Safety Director Jacob Saur said. “This will largely be a rain event, but as the ground is already saturated, trees can easily topple from the winds produced by tropical storms in our area.”

So far, there are no plans to evacuate or open shelters, but that could change, according to the release.

Residents will be able to get sandbags at the Manatee County Public Works Department’s Stormwater Facility at 5511 39 Street East in Bradenton. The self-serve site will close at 7 p.m. Sunday and reopen Monday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Pinellas Park residents can also pick sandbags at a self-service site at the following locations:

  • Helen Howarth Park: 6301 94th Ave N. Pinellas Park, FL
  • Pinebrook Park: 7202 118th Ave N. Pinellas Park, FL
  • Broderick Park: 6101 66th Ave N. Pinellas Park, FL

Residents must show a water bill and/or valid driver’s license indicating they are a resident of Pinellas Park in order to receive their sandbags.