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Local leaders keep close eye on Elsa as storm barrels through Atlantic

Posted at 6:13 PM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 18:14:19-04

SHELL POINT, Fla. (WTXL) — It's a cloudy but peaceful start to the weekend in shell point. Barely a wave in the Apalachee Bay. The water is like glass. A perfect day to teach kids about the powers of nature.

"They learn how to sail these boats and they're doing a capsize drill right now."

Bob Graves is with the Apalachee Bay Yacht Club. He's teaching young sailors what to do when the unexpected happens.

"We've seen boats out here go over and people don't know how to bring them upright and they've needed assistance."

Graves lives in the Shell Point area, a stone's throw away from the Gulf of Mexico. He doesn't roll the dice when it comes to hurricanes and for good reason.

"Yeah, I was in Tallahassee for Hurricane Michael. Here, the water got up to four feet under the homes so staying here would have been inadvisable for anyone."

All eyes now in the Caribbean Sea as Elsa barrels through the Atlantic.

"Even if it goes to the west of us, we feel some kind of effect here."

Pamela Brownell has been with Franklin County Emergency Management for 17 years. She stresses it's important for people to have a hurricane plan and be ready to evacuate.

"It's important that when we say it's time to go that everybody gets moving and gets out safely otherwise, they won't get out and they're stuck here. And once the storm starts, if you have a medical emergency...we can't get to ya."

In case of a hurricane, Franklin County will offer transportation to people who need it at certain locations, where they can meet up and be taken to a safe destination.

"You need to be there with your stuff ready to go and we actually take you to a shelter in Leon County."

Brownell encourages Franklin County residents to sign up for emergency text alerts. A service that will give important lifesaving information.

"Once we activate, then we'll set up hotlines and have somebody here basically answer questions."

Franklin County residents can sign up for alerts by clicking this link. Wakulla County residents can sign up for alerts by clicking this link.

It's too soon to tell what impacts Elsa could bring to the Big Bend. Something the First Alert Weather Team will be watching through the weekend.