Heavy rain, rip currents expected as Isaac passes

Photo by Norman Schimmel

Sarasota County residents and visitors are urged to remain alert to storm conditions and exercise caution as Tropical Storm Isaac moves through the Gulf of Mexico, a county news release advises today, Aug. 27.

High winds and heavy rain are expected to begin late this morning or early this afternoon, and rough surf with anticipated wave heights of 6 to 8 feet will result in dangerous rip currents as the storm passes, says the release issued at 9 a.m. today.

Sarasota County closed the evacuation shelter at Woodland Middle School, 2700 Panacea Blvd., in North Port this morning. The evacuation shelters at Heron Creek Middle School, 6501 W. Price Blvd. in North Port, and Brookside Middle School, 3636 S. Shade Ave. in Sarasota, remain open.

Flooding, tornadoes and other weather changes can develop as Isaac moves across the Gulf of Mexico, the news release points out.

Drivers should avoid flooded areas. If traffic lights aren’t working, treat intersections as four-way stops.

People are urged to stay off roads after the storm subsides, to give emergency workers time to respond to any problems. Flooded streets can cover downed power lines. Children shouldn’t be permitted to play in flooded areas which may contain snakes and fire ants, as well as bacteria, the news release points out.

Residents using generators for emergency power should use them outside or in well-ventilated areas. Generators should be turned off during refueling.

Residents are urged to use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights for illumination instead of candles during any power outages, to avoid fire hazard.

To report a power outage or downed power lines, call 1-800-468-8243.

For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 941-861-5000 or visitwww.scgov.net.