Even with Hurricane Dorian hundreds of miles away Friday, it was already having an impact on the Venice area.

Both Venice and Sarasota County had declared local states of emergency, gas stations were out of fuel and grocery stores were replenishing water supplies as fast as they could.

Which was good news in the sense that Dorian was being taken seriously as a threat.

And rightly so. The entire state was in the "cone of uncertainty" Friday, with the storm on a path to landfall east of Venice as a major hurricane, possibly a Category 4, Tuesday.

Several models predicted the storm would take a hard turn north after making landfall but no one can tell a tropical storm what to do.

Both the governor and the president have declared a state of emergency for Florida but no evacuations have been ordered and no shelters are open yet.

Visit SCGov.net or call 941-861-5000 for the latest information. All shelters will be opened at the same time.

If you're planning to leave the area, the longer you wait, the more likely you are to get caught up in traffic even if emergency road rules are triggered. Gas will be harder to come by as well. Check supplies at GasBuddy.com.

Have a destination and, ideally, accommodations, lined up.

Going to a county evacuation shelter is considered a last resort and there is no shelter in the Venice area. If your home is capable of withstanding Dorian, you should get a week's worth of supplies, including medication and pet food; board your windows; secure any loose objects outside and be ready to hunker down.

Don't forget your weather radio and batteries.

If you need sandbags, the city will have bags, sand and shovels at Avenue des Parques and West Venice Avenue (behind Venice City Hall) and Wellfield Park off Pinebrook Road Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., while supplies last.

Sandbags will be available from the county Saturday, Aug. 31, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m, and Sunday, Sept. 1, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. while supplies last at Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St., Sarasota; Twin Lakes Park: 6700 Clark Road, Sarasota; and the South County Fleet Facility, 4571 State Road 776, Venice.

There's a limit of 10 bags per household.

If you have doubts about your home's storm-worthiness or would feel more secure in a newer dwelling, consider staying with a friend or relative.

If you need to go to a shelter, you must either be able to drive to one or to a rally point, where you can get transportation to one, or sign up for pickup transportation to and from one.

You can sign up online at SCGov.net or call 941-861-5000. When shelters open you'll get a call about when you'll be picked up and which rally point you'll be taken to.

There's a separate registration if you have special medical needs. You and your caregiver can also do that at SCGov.net or call 941-861-5000.

The deadline to register for transportation is 60 hours before landfall is predicted. Do it now.

Stay connected

Information will be key as Dorian works its way west.

Both the county and the city use the CodeRED system to blast information out to residents. Sign up at VeniceGov.com and SCGov.net.

Both will be posting updates on those websites, as well as on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

We'll be keeping you informed at Facebook.com/VeniceGondolierSun/ and YourSun.com.

Stay safe.

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