Region residents were busy stocking up on essentials in preparation for Hurricane Dorian on Thursday.
By noon, many stores in the area were out of water or close to it. Demand also was high for items like bread, ice and charcoal.
Lines at gas stations remained long throughout the day. Several stations reportedly had already run out of fuel.
The city of Punta Gorda is offering sand for residents to fill sand bags. Sand is available at Hounds on Henry dog park in Punta Gorda, 1098 W. Virginia Ave.
The city will provide a maximum of 10 bags per resident. Residents are required to fill the bags themselves.
Charlotte County does not provide sandbags or sandbag materials, county spokesperson Brian Gleason said in a news release.
“Residents can buy bags of potting soil or sand at a home center, hardware store or department store in lieu of sandbags,” he said. “Bags of soil or sand can be recycled after the storm passes.”
Sarasota County gives out 10 bags per household while supplies last.
Venice Public Works Department will have sandbags 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at Avenue Des Parques and West Venice Avenue (behind Venice City Hall) and at Wellfield Park off Pinebrook Road. City staff will be on hand. Shovels will be provided.
Residents are encouraged to bring their own bags in case the city runs out, as well as their own shovels to expedite the process.
Sandbags are also available from 8 a.m. till 8 p.m. at South County Fleet Facility, 4571 SR 776/Englewood Road, Venice with up to 10 bags per household while supplies last. Proof of residency could be asked for at the facility.
No word on schools yet
Charlotte County school officials have yet to announce any school closures next week.
District spokesperson Mike Riley said they are keeping a close eye on the storm forecast.
Riley said parents can expect messaging throughout the weekend on the district’s parent connect call system, the district website yourcharlotteschools.net, and school Twitter and Facebook accounts.
We are preparing our schools, just as parents should do with their homes,” Riley said.
Port Charlotte Beach closed
Port Charlotte Beach Park will be closed Sunday and Monday due to Hurricane Dorian, and will reopen once any debris is cleared on Tuesday.