Tropical Storm Idalia live updates: Volusia and Flagler prepare
Volusia and Flagler county officials are urging residents to prepare as Tropical Storm Idalia strengthens and makes its way to Florida. Both counties are now included in Gov. Ron DeSantis' state of emergency. Volusia and Flagler County are also under a tropical storm watch.
Tropical Storm Idalia is expected to strengthen into a hurricane today as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico. As the situation unfolds, we'll post updates on the storm, local conditions, closures and cancellations, sandbag locations, and more.
Flagler Schools Interim Superintendent LaShakia Moore has closed all schools on Wednesday due to Tropical Storm Idalia. Schools may be closed for additional days depending on the storm's impact, according to a release.
In addition, all outdoor after-school activities planned for Tuesday have been canceled. But indoor activities, including extended-day programs, will still take place.
Keiser University Daytona Beach will have classes on Tuesday but close on Wednesday.
Bethune-Cookman University announced it will close all of its offices by noon on Tuesday. The school advised all students planning to evacuate the campus should do so by noon Tuesday. The school will switch to online classes from Wednesday through Friday.
Daytona State College announced it is planning to hold classes on Tuesday, with any announcements about Wednesday and beyond yet to come.
The University of Central Florida, which has a branch campus at Daytona State College, has not announced a closure in Daytona Beach.
As of 5:15 p.m. Monday, Stetson University announced it expects the DeLand campus to remain open to students and employees.
Volusia County is urging contractors who are working along the coast to secure their work sites by the end of the day on Tuesday.
"This precautionary measure is in response to the likelihood that beach access may not be available on Wednesday, Aug. 30, due to anticipated coastal storm impacts," according to a county news release.
The Volusia County Coastal Division issued the advisory to protect construction equipment and the surrounding environment because Tropical Storm Idalia could bring significant impacts., according to the county. County officials are recommending that contractors remove all of their equipment from the beach area. If that's no possible, contractors must at least make sure the equipment is securely stored and protected.
"Safeguarding work sites and reducing equipment exposure to potential hazards reduces the risk of equipment damage, facilitating a prompt resumption of work as conditions improve," Volusia County Coastal Division Director Jessica Fentress said in a prepared statement. “Additionally, contractors should implement temporary erosion control measures at sites that are still under construction to minimize potential impacts to property.”
― Sheldon Gardner
For Floridians fleeing Tropical Storm Idalia, predicted to become at least a major Category 3 hurricane, U-Haul is offering a place to put your stuff.
U-Haul is offering 30 days of free self-storage and U-Box container usage at 54 facilities across the state to residents who stand to be impacted by the storm, which is expected to slam into Florida's Big Bend area Wednesday morning and bring massive storm surges up and down the west coast.
“The National Hurricane Center is warning residents to prepare for strong storm surges and forceful winds,” Bob Magyar, U-Haul Company of West Tampa president, said in a release. “Having an emergency plan in place is important. U-Haul is helping by making locations available where folks can store their belongings free for up to a month.”
Locations offering free storage include U-Haul Moving & Storage of DeBary at 2861 Enterprise Road in DeBary and U-Haul Moving & Storage of Orange City at 2395 S. Volusia Ave. in Orange City. There are also dozens of other locations in the state that are providing free storage.
U-Haul's disaster relief program is for new rentals and is based on availability at each U-Haul location. Contact the nearest participating facility for more details and to arrange your free 30 days.
― C. A. Bridges, USA TODAY NETWORK - Florida
Flagler Beach Police Chief Matt Doughney wrote in an email that the city and the Florida Department of Transportation will be keeping an eye on A1A as the storm moves through the area. The city is coordinating with FDOT in case they need to place equipment in the city ahead of the storm for an expedited response.
Washouts on A1A:What is FDOT doing to protect storm-battered roadway?
The city has also moved its Emergency Response Trailer, which was donated to the city by the Rotary Club of Flagler Beach, as a precaution to an indoor facility at the wastewater plant on the west side.
Flagler Beach is coordinating with Flagler Strong to have sand, scoopers and sandbags available today starting today until 7 p.m. in the parking lot across from Santa Maria del Mar Catholic Church, Flagler Beach, FL; 915 North Central Avenue.
Sandbags will also be available from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday.
The sandbags are self-serve and for residents of Flagler Beach.
“We're requesting that you be respectful of others and only take the number of bags you actually need,” the city stated in a Facebook post.
― Frank Fernandez
Volusia County will open three shelters amid voluntary evacuations in vulnerable areas.
The county government issued a voluntary evacuation recommendation that will start at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
"People who live in RVs, mobile homes or low-lying areas may wish to find accommodations with friends or family members. People in these high-risk areas may use public shelters as a site of last resort," according to a county news release.
The county is also encouraging beachfront residents to seek safe shelter if they saw major coastal erosion during Hurricane Ian or Nicole and haven't finished construction on protective measures.
The county government and the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County will open the following sites as shelters starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday:
Also, the Bridge at the Neighborhood Center of West Volusia at 421 S. Palmetto Ave. in DeLand will open at 7 a.m. Wednesday. Clients can stay inside throughout the day and can stay at the shelter overnight into Thursday morning, according to the county.
All shelters will accept pets, but people must bring pet supplies, including a leash, cage or crate, dog bowl, water and food.
Special needs shelters are not for patients in isolation or people who need 24-hour dedicated care, a hospital bed, a ventilator or other complex care. People with such conditions should discuss other shelter arrangements with their physician or home health service provider or caregiver. Only one caregiver will be admitted for each patient.
Evacuees may need to stay at a shelter for 24 to 72 hours during an emergency. Since space is limited, people should only take essential items and avoid bringing valuables. Shelters aren't responsible for lost or stolen items.
Items to bring, according to the county:
Volusia County beaches
Volusia County will close its beaches to vehicular traffic on Tuesday afternoon.
"These will be rolling closures. As toll booths are removed, entry will be prohibited in those locations," according to the release. "The beach access ramps will remain closed throughout Wednesday. County staff will work quickly to assess damage before reopening the beaches."
The county will close all coastal parks at the end of the day on Tuesday.
People can download the Volusia Beaches App for real-time beach updates.
― Sheldon Gardner
As Tropical Storm Idalia churned slowly toward Florida’s Gulf Coast on Monday, the traditional mad rush for last-minute hurricane supplies also started at a moderate pace, at least in two popular shopping spots in DeBary.
By late afternoon, there were no lines of cars at the gas pumps at the 7-Eleven at U.S. Highway 17-92 and Dogwood Trail, where customers filled up at a cost of $3.72 a gallon. The pumps had been busy, but not overrun with customers, all day, according to the clerk.
A few blocks south, there were still two pallets of bottled water available at the Winn-Dixie at DeBary Commons at the intersection of 17-92 and Highbanks Road, although the shelves behind them had been temporarily stripped bare of gallon jugs of both drinking water and distilled water.
There, short lines of customers waited to fill shopping carts without any restrictions limiting how many cases could be purchased per shopper.
Asked about the purchase limits that traditionally arrive ahead of a storm, an employee responded, “That will be coming tomorrow.”
The store also still had plenty of batteries, unless you were looking for a size “D.” And there was still plenty of toilet paper, which has recently become a trendy item to hoard in emergencies.
― Jim Abbott
Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin signed a proclamation declaring a local state of emergency for the city as Tropical Storm Idalia threatens Florida.
The proclamation allows the city to obtain resources on an emergency basis. It also allows for state and federal resources to quickly flow to the area.
Gov. Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order EO-23-171 on Saturday declaring a state of emergency for several Florida counties and added more counties on Monday, including Flagler County, the release stated.
"At this time, the City of Palm Coast is monitoring and preparing for any possible impacts the storm may bring to the area," the release stated.
― Frank Fernandez
The Florida Department of Transportation will suspend SunRail service starting Tuesday, according to a news release from the department.
Crews will prepare the railway to make it safe before the storm. Preparations include:
Crews will inspect the railway after the storm to make sure it's safe.
For information, people can go to sunrail.com.
― Sheldon Gardner
Volusia County will temporarily suspend services through Votran, the county's public transportation, starting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, according to a county news release. The closure will affect all routes.
People should also make alternative arrangements for travel on Wednesday.
The county will make an announcement when it's safe for bus service to start again.
"The decision comes as a proactive measure to ensure the safety and well-being of riders and personnel amidst the anticipated deteriorating weather conditions," according to the county.
Storm updates are available at volusia.org/pin or by calling the Citizens Information Center at 866-345-0345. ― Sheldon Gardner
The Rev. Derrick Harris, pastor for 28 years of Master's Domain Church of God in Christ in Daytona Beach, was coordinating efforts Monday morning to help his elderly church members get sandbags.
Men in the church were filling sandbags at Bethune Point Park for anyone unable to fill and place the bags themselves.
"We're just trying to get the word out to the elderly and anyone else in need," Harris said.
Harris is also the owner of a Midtown barbershop, Derrick's Cut Masters, on Orange Avenue. The barbershop has repeatedly flooded, as has the rest of Midtown, and was badly damaged by the deluge of water from last year's Tropical Storm Ian.
Last year Harris drove a large, lifted truck into Midtown to help rescue residents trapped by floodwater. He and others also rescued people with boats.
"I hope we don't get flooded again," he said Monday morning.
― Eileen Zaffiro-Kean
Cynthia Slater, head of Daytona Beach's branch of the NAACP, was busy Monday morning coordinating efforts to get ready for the incoming storm.
"I sent out a message for people to prepare," said Slater, who has lived in the flood-prone Midtown neighborhood for more than 60 years. "We don't know where it's going, but it's coming. You never know about storms in Florida. It can easily shift."
Slater was telling Midtown residents, many of whom are still recovering from last years pair of tropical storms that deluged the neighborhood, to get batteries, flashlights, water, medicine and important papers together.
"The main thing is to keep an eye on where the storm is going, and know where you can evacuate to if you need to," said Slater, who evacuated to Jacksonville last year during Tropical Storm Ian when floodwaters overtook her Midtown home.
She said she's in touch with the Red Cross and the city of Daytona Beach about emergency measures.
"A little rain is like a flood in Daytona," she said.
― Eileen Zaffiro-Kean
Volusia County Director of Emergency Management Clint Mecham said the county plans to release details today about opening a couple of shelters for Tropical Storm Idalia. The county expects to provide space to people voluntarily evacuating from vulnerable areas, he said.
The shelters will serve the general population as well as those with special needs and animals, Mecham said. County officials plan to send out the shelter listing around 5 p.m. today. ― Sheldon Gardner
Palm Coast is recommending residents get their storm preparations done by the end of the day on Tuesday.
That includes clearing porches and patios of items that could be blown away and getting enough food, fuel, water, medication and pet supplies to last five to seven days, according to the city. The city also recommends that residents gather any critical papers and family comfort supplies.
Starting at 7 a.m. Tuesday, the Palm Coast Customer Service line at 386-986-2360 will be available 24 hours a day for city-related matters until the storm subsides.
Residents can also submit a case through palmcoast.gov/Connect.
For medical emergencies, residents should call 9-1-1.
Yard debris and recycling collection has been canceled for Wednesday. Garbage collection will resume on its regular schedule on Thursday.
If your power goes out and your residence uses a PEP tank system for wastewater, you should conserve water as much as possible, the city stated in the release. Water usage during these times could risk waste backing up into homes.
Palm Coast will have a sandbag operation until 3 p.m. today at the Indian Trails Sports Complex, 5455 Belle Terre Parkway and from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
AlertFlagler is free and allows residents to receive emergency information.
― Frank Fernandez
The Florida Department of Transportation has postponed the meeting that was scheduled for Thursday about safety improvements on South Ridgewood Avenue at the intersection of Marion Avenue in Edgewater, according to a Florida Department of Transportation news release. A new date hasn't been announced. ― Sheldon Gardner
People might experience power outages with Tropical Storm Idalia. Those who plan to use a generator should do so safely, and emergency officials in Volusia County shared the following tips:
― Sheldon Gardner
As of late Monday morning, Hurricane Idalia's potential arrival later this week has yet to cause customers to hit the panic button at Daytona Beach area Ace Hardware stores.
"We've had a lot of phone calls, but no lines at this time," said Stacey Crafton, who owns the two Ace Hardware stores in Ormond Beach along with her father Jeff Gross and sister Shannon Woten.
"It's a good time to have a sales tax holiday. We've already ordered extra supplies but we're already well stocked."
Crafton said top-selling items whenever there's a threat of an impending hurricane typically include batteries, gas cans, tarps and Flex Seal (water-resistant) tape.
"If it (Hurriance Idalia) looks like it's coming this way, it'll pick up, but right now it's business as usual," she said.
Mark Madden who, along with his daughter Jennifer Allen, owns the Ace Hardware stores in Holly Hill, Daytona Beach Shores and South Daytona, said they have yet to see a rush on hurricane supplies.
"It's not a panic yet, but our stores are stocking up on supplies just in case," he said.
― Clayton Park
Flagler Schools has postponed a community forum scheduled for Tuesday due to Tropical Storm Idalia, which has put the county under a tropical storm watch.
Interim Superintendent LaShakia Moore scheduled the forum to bring the community together after Bunnell Elementary called its Black fourth- and fifth-graders into the cafeteria for a PowerPoint presentation to discuss low standardized test scores.
The district has not yet rescheduled the event. ― Mary Ellen Ritter
The hearing to discuss a proposal to buy the Tomoka/Ford Marsh property through the Volusia Forever and Florida Forever programs has been postponed. The meeting, planned by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, had been scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Volusia County Council chambers. A new date hasn't been announced. ― Sheldon Gardner
Deltona and DeLand both experienced flooding in areas after Tropical Storm Ian last year, and officials are preparing for more flooding.
Deltona Mayor Santiago Avila Jr. said he has reached out to the governor’s office about opening the “Big Ditch” ahead of receiving emergency authorization from the St. Johns River Water Management District.
Avila said opening the gates for the Lake Doyle to Lake Bethel emergency overflow interconnection would help alleviate potential flooding in the Lake Theresa basin.
He said he is most concerned about District 1, which saw the worst flooding after last year’s back-to-back tropical storms.
District 1, which is home to Three Island Lakes and Dupont Lake, is located in the northeastern part of the city.
Deltona previously asked the St. Johns River Water Management District for permission — at least three times between 2005 and 2022 — to open the flood control structure to drain water.
The city currently faces a class-action lawsuit from 40-plus Stone Island property owners who say the city routed floodwaters from Ian into their neighborhood.
Deltona's drainage system, which was built more than 30 years ago, routes floodwaters into the St. Johns River and area lakes.
In the lawsuit, Stone Island residents say their property was used and damaged or destroyed when Deltona opened the Lake Bethel dam shortly after Hurricane Ian (the "Deltona Dam Program")."
The lawsuit also states, in part:
Deltona was aware opening the flood control structure could result in flooding impact downstream.
In the days after Ian, a tropical storm when it hit Volusia County, Deltona opened the flood control structure without seeking permission from the St. Johns River Water Management District.
Opening the structure resulted in "hundreds of millions of gallons of floodwaters being redirected to, through, and over Stone Island."
The flooding "caused Volusia County to tum off sewer lift/pump stations in Stone Island, resulting in a non-functioning sanitary system, in sewage backing up throughout the community, and resulting in further damage."
In DeBary, the city is taking steps to lower lake levels in an effort to alleviate potential flooding, according to a news release Monday.
Much of the St. Johns River in West Volusia, including DeLand, Astor and Lake Harney, saw record-breaking flooding that lasted several weeks after Ian.
― Katie Kustura
The county government’s Citizens Information Center will be open for calls at 866-345-0345 until 6 p.m. today. The center will begin operating 24 hours a day starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday until further notice. The center will provide storm updates and information about community resources, disaster preparation and sandbags. ― Sheldon Gardner
On Monday just before 5 p.m., Volusia County Schools Superintendent Carmen Balgobin issued a statement saying that schools at this point are scheduled to remain open for students countywide.
"Volusia County Schools is continuing to monitor Tropical Storm Idalia in close coordination with the county’s Emergency Operations Center. Again, the safety of our students, families, and staff is our priority," Balgobin said in a prepared statement.
She added that, "At this time, there is school tomorrow, Tuesday, August 29th. The greatest impact of the storm is still expected to be felt on Wednesday along the northwest Gulf Coast of Florida, while Volusia County will experience tropical storm-level winds on Wednesday morning. As such, we will continue to monitor closely. "
People can find storm updates from Volusia County Schools at vcsedu.org/community/storm-resource-center.
― News-Journal staff
Flagler County officials are urging residents to prepare for Tropical Storm Idalia, according to a release.
The storm will start impacting the area late Tuesday and continue making its presence felt all day Wednesday.
“Starting early on Wednesday, we expect to see tropical storm force winds, potentially over 50 mph and some minor coastal flooding primarily due to the lunar high tide,” said Flagler County Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord. “We urge all of our residents to complete preparations, on Monday, as if a Category 1 Hurricane is approaching our area, even though our impacts will likely be more tropical storm like.”
Residents should secure loose, light outdoor items so they don’t become flying projectiles, Lord recommended. They should also ensure that their disaster supply kit is stocked and ready for the next seven days.
Residents can get more details by going to flaglercounty.gov/emergency and clicking on the Disaster Preparedness Guide.
Evacuations might be required on Tuesday afternoon for residents of mobile homes and RVs. ― Frank Fernandez
Sandbag operations in Flagler County are planned at:
For information about emergency preparedness, residents can go to flaglercounty.gov/emergency or call 386-313-4200 during normal business hours, the release stated. ― Frank Fernandez
Volusia County Chairman Jeff Brower has issued a declaration of a local state of emergency in light of Tropical Storm Idalia approaching the area, according to Volusia County government.
County officials believe the county could see near tropical-storm-force wind gusts on Wednesday and rainfall from 3-6 inches. The storm could also bring isolated power outages, “pockets of damage,” travel delays and flooded streets, according to the county government.
The extra-high tide associated with the full moon on Wednesday combined with swells from Hurricane Franklin will make for a greater risk of rip currents and beach erosion, according to the county. The county is urging people to say out of the ocean until conditions get better.
Also, contractors working along the coast must secure their sites by the end of Tuesday and stay off the sites until further notice.
“This is potentially a serious situation for Volusia County,” Emergency Management Director Clint Mecham said in a prepared statement. “We encourage everyone to monitor weather reports, make a family plan, and consider stocking a disaster supply kit.”
Emergency preparedness info and storm updates are available at volusia.org/pin.
― Sheldon Gardner
Tropical Storm Idalia:What you need to know in Volusia, Flagler as storm approaches
Several sandbag operations are already underway or planned across Volusia County and its cities. Emergency preparedness info and storm updates are available at volusia.org/pin.
Here’s a sandbag list from the Volusia County government:
Volusia County will operate self-service sandbag stations from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. today and Tuesday at the Road and Bridge facility at 2560 W. State Road 44 in DeLand and the Road and Bridge facility at 200 State Road 415 in Osteen.
Residents can also pick up pre-filled sandbags at the Volusia County Branch Jail at 1300 Red John Road in Daytona Beach from 2 to 4 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday. There is a limit of five bags per vehicle.
The City of Daytona Beach will offer sandbags from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at Bethune Point Park at 11 Bellevue Ave. Residents are asked to bring a shovel to fill sandbags. There is no charge for sandbags, and there is a 10-bag limit per vehicle. If demand and conditions warrant, sandbag operations will be extended on Tuesday.
Sandbags are available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and Tuesday at 16 Colomba Road. Residents should bring a shovel and identification. There is a limit of 10 bags per residence.
The City of DeLand will offer sand and bags to residents from 3 to 7 p.m. today and from 8 a.m. to noon on Tuesday in the parking lot at 601 S. Woodland Blvd. south of Melching Field near the corner of East Hubbard Avenue and South Woodland Boulevard.
Residents should bring their own shovels and proof of residency, according to a news release. There is a limit of 10 bags per household.
Residents should bring a shovel and identification. There is a limit of 10 bags per residence.
Two self-service sandbag locations are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today at Festival Park at 191 Howland Blvd. and 2931 Day Road. Bags will be provided. Residents should bring a shovel and someone to help with the bagging process.
The City of Edgewater stocked three locations with sand piles at Fire Station 57 at 2628 Hibiscus Drive (open 24 hours a day), Mango Tree Lake at 901 Mango Tree Drive (currently closed) and Airpark staging area at1898 Airpark Road (currently closed). Residents should bring their own shovels and bags.
Orange City residents may pick up sandbags from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today at the Waggin’ Trail Dog Park at 1201 S. Leavitt Ave. Residents should bring a shovel and identification and fill their own bags. There is a limit of 10 sandbags per household. ID is required.
A self-serve sand pile and fillable sandbags are available at the Nova Community Center at 440 N. Nova Road, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today through Saturday. Ormond Beach residents can show their ID to receive up to 10 fillable bags. Residents should bring a shovel and fill and load the bags into their vehicles.
The Town of Ponce Inlet is providing sand and sandbags from noon to 6 p.m. today and Tuesday at the Ponce Inlet Community Center, 4670 S. Peninsula Drive. Residents should bring a shovel and fill their own bags. There is a limit of 10 bags per resident, and identification is required. Hurricane passes will also be available.
The City of Port Orange will operate a self-service sandbag site from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday in the field next to the REC Center, 4655 City Center Circle. Residents must bring identification and a shovel. Staff will provide bags. There is a limit of 10 sandbags per person.
Sandbags are available from noon to 6 p.m. today at the Piggotte Community Center at 504 Big Tree. Residents should bring proof of residency.
― SheldonGardner and Katie KusturaU-Haul Moving & Storage of DeBaryU-Haul Moving & Storage of Orange CityWashouts on A1A:SheltersVolusia County beachesTropical Storm Idalia:Volusia CountyDaytona BeachDeBaryDeLandDeltonaEdgewaterOrange CityOrmond BeachPonce InletPort OrangeSouth Daytona