October 23rd, 2005 12:41 EST
(Vero Beach, FL) Indian River County Hunkers Down
Vero Beach, FL Sunday, October 23, 2005 – County Administrator Joe Baird has signed the Declaration of Emergency for Indian River County, Florida. Meteorologists are expecting Hurricane Wilma to make land fall somewhere on the Florida peninsula near Naples moving NE by Monday, entering the SW of Florida at 6 a.m. EST with average sustained winds of somewhere around 40 mph and peak wind gusts of 70-75 mph between 11 a.m. and Noon on Monday.
Bridges will be closed connecting the barrier islands to the mainland at 6 a.m. on Monday. County official says they are planning to reopen the bridges when the storm passes however, if there is any flooding at the base of the bridge this may be delayed.
State, Federal, Local, and Municipal buildings will be closed on Monday however, all employees need to report to work at their regular scheduled time on Tuesday, October 25, 2005.
Indian River County residents should take protective actions such as securing yard debris and garbage. ”Our biggest concern is power outages. We do not want to minimize what will happen with this storm but we do not want to scare anyone either,” said Nathan McCollum. Starting at 3 p.m. today there is a mandatory evacuation for all modular home residents.
Also, if you live in low line areas they may flood as a result of rainfall with accumulations of 4 or 5 inches of rain, with an expected storm surge of 1 to 3 feet.
“The storm surge will not have the impact that we had last year with Hurricane Francis and Jeanne,” he said.
Shelters will be opening at 5 p.m. today. Shelter locations are Fellsmere Elementary, Sebastian River Middle, Freshman Learning Center and Oslo Middle Schools. The special needs shelter will be located at Liberty Magnet School in Sebastian. For more information concerning shelters contact the local Red Cross.
Sara Ruey, representative for the Red Cross says they have all of the shelter crews ready and willing to assist people and are working closely with the County to make sure everything and everyone is fully prepared.
“If you come to any of the shelters, please make sure you bring a sleeping bag and pillow and all of your medications labeled and a few toys if you have children to keep them entertained,” she said.