Charlotte County declared a local state of emergency Friday morning to prepare for potential impacts when Hurricane Dorian makes landfall.
Charlotte County Emergency Management Director Patrick Fuller briefed the county commissioners Friday morning about the National Weather Service's latest predictions.
Fuller said the path of the storm is still unclear, but the county is prepared for either direction it may take.
"That southern movement does not do Charlotte County any favors. The westerly track is the one that would concern us," he said.
He added that the storm going up central Florida would be the more preferable option for our weather.
"The further west it moves, the more rain we can expect," Fuller said.
The National Weather Service increased the chance of our area experiencing tropical storm level winds from 65% to 77%, he explained.
Right now, Fuller said there is low confidence in the forecast, as it is likely to change several times before Dorian makes landfall in Florida.
He said we can expect wind and flooding as early as Sunday.
Public Safety Director Bill Van Helden said Charlotte County is prepared for either outcome of the storm.
"We've been through this before, but don't let your guard down," he said. "We're very thankful people are out there getting fuel and supplies. Continue to do that. Once you have your supplies, don't panic.
Van Helden stressed the importance of residents knowing which zone they're in in case they are asked to evacuate.
Commissioners also reminded the public that the county is asking contractors to secure their construction sites of any materials or debris that could potentially cause damage during the storm.
Fuller said that at this time the county doesn't see a need to open shelters. If shelters are needed, the county is going to try to use the recreation centers that serve as shelters before the schools as not to interrupt any school activities after the storm passes.
The emergency operation center in Charlotte County is meeting at 2 p.m. Friday to discuss updates about the storm.
To sign up for emergency alerts via phone, text and email, visit AlertCharlotte.com.