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Okaloosa County puts shelters on standby for upcoming storm
OKALOOSA COUNTY - Okaloosa County has partially activated its emergency operations center, and put one shelter on standby. Beach access points will be closed Saturday. At a briefing this morning, emergency managers said Karen is an unpredictable storm, and people need to stay ready.
On Holiday Isle in Destin, it was another pretty day. With Karen's current track, no mandatory evacuations have been ordered. Voluntary evacuations for people near the Gulf are suggested, but visitor Ronnie Grandell isn't going anywhere. The New Orleans native says a little wind and rain won't spoil his vacation.
Grandell said, "Yeah, we bought a little extra alcohol for the hurricane party, and in fact some friends lift New Orleans to do a little hurricane hunting themselves on the boat, and they're between Lulu's and here now, so they made it through that part safely."
Nearby in Destin Pointe, Diana Lynn is taking the storm more seriously. This is what her neighborhood looked like last year during hurricane Isaac.
Lynn said, "We've seen sand and water all the way into the streets, all the way up to that fire hydrant, which is right in front of our lot. So I don't want to see it come any farther than that"
Odds are it won't. This year, the county finished a $7.5 million beach restoration project to protect homes in this part of Destin. But if water is less of a worry, there's still the wind.
Lynn said, "Whether we would get gusts coming in, that's a big question. The house does move, being on piers, it does have movement. So how much movement will it take? (laughs)
Emergency managers said this morning that if we get tropical storm force winds for an extended period of time, there could be widespread power outages. They're also wary of flooding in low lying areas, with rainfall of four to eight inches expected.