DeSoto County preparing for Nicole

Reporter: Rodaris Richardson Writer: Paul Dolan

Northern parts of Southwest Florida will feel the harsher effects of Tropical Storm Nicole. This is all happening while DeSoto County remains at a level two activation for the Hurricane Ian recovery efforts.

The DeSoto County Emergency Operation Center said it will remain under a level two activation. This means some workers are on duty monitoring the storm and helping out with Ian’s recovery efforts.

A level one activation would be all hands on deck, similar to the response to Hurricane Ian.

Debris in DeSoto County. CREDIT: WINK News

Officials are advising people to take Nicole seriously and do what they need to in order to prepare.

Dwight Leighton from Arcadia told WINK News the thought of any kind of storm is devastating so he’s not taking any chances.

“I came up to Arcadia here to batten down my parents’ roof. They have a blue tarp on that. I want to make sure it’s all good. So if they don’t get any more damage,” Leighton said.

Strong winds are expected to blow through Arcadia Wednesday night and Thursday morning, so it’s a real possibility that tarps not securely hammered down could blow away.

Leighton is not forgetting the debris and mess that Ian left behind are still laying around.

“No matter how big or small storm there it’s still a big storm regardless. Any rain around here it just floods regardless so,” Sara Walker said.

Sara Walker with the DeSoto County Emergency Operations Center told WINK News, everyone’s aware Tropical Storm Nicole could blast through the area.

“Our director is in multiple calls with the state, the National Weather Service, and regional calls with other directors,” Walker said.

DeSoto County Emergency Operation Center. CREDIT: WINK News

Also, the federal agency, FEMA, shut down its Ian response location, just in case.

“They are closing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday just to make sure their employees can be safe and be you know, just during the storm,” Walker said.

But, FEAM will reopen after Nicole passes, and their best advice is to prepare sooner rather than later.

“No matter what, plan for 72 hours or three days’ worth of food, water, gasoline. Also, have a plan. If you’re nervous about your home right now and the safety of you in your home. Make sure to have a plan if that’s to drive to a friend or a family member in another area,” Walker said.

The Emergency Operations Center recommends people visit to sign up for emergency alerts.

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