Here's the Tropical Storm Idalia forecast for Volusia, Flagler


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Sep 15, 2023

Here's the Tropical Storm Idalia forecast for Volusia, Flagler

Officials say Volusia and Flagler counties could start feeling tropical storm force wind gusts and heavy rain by early Wednesday as Idalia continues its trek toward Florida. Here’s what you need to

Officials say Volusia and Flagler counties could start feeling tropical storm force wind gusts and heavy rain by early Wednesday as Idalia continues its trek toward Florida.

Here’s what you need to know about how local officials are preparing for the storm:

In the 11 p.m. National Hurricane Center update on Monday, the storm could become a hurricane at any time as it lingered near western Cuba and was expected to become a major hurricane over the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for the Florida east coast and the southeastern Georgia coast from Sebastian Inlet northward to Altamaha Sound, an area that includes Volusia and Flagler counties. The warning means that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected within the area within 36 hours.

Idalia was moving north at 8 mph, with a minimum pressure of 983 mb and maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, with higher gusts. A northward motion is expected through Monday night, followed by a faster north-northeast motion on Tuesday and Wednesday.

On the forecast track, the center of Idalia is forecast to move over the eastern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday and reach the Gulf coast of Florida on Wednesday as a major hurricane of Category 3 or higher.

Also, Volusia and Flagler counties were both added midday Monday to the state of emergency executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis, while President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for Florida.

Get updates in real-time:Live coverage: Tropical Storm Idalia puts Volusia, Flagler on watch, officials urge preparation

In Volusia County, Emergency Management officials are anticipating wind gusts that could approach tropical storm force on Wednesday, according to a county news release.

Isolated power outages and pockets of damage are possible. Rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches could cause street flooding and travel delays.

“This is potentially a serious situation for Volusia County,” said Emergency Management Director Clint Mecham. “We encourage everyone to monitor weather reports, make a family plan, and consider stocking a disaster supply kit.”

Mecham said the Emergency Operations Center is currently under a level 2 activation.

County staff is maintaining continuous communication with the Florida Department of Emergency Management, the National Weather Service, local municipalities, Volusia County Schools and other partners. The Emergency Operations Center is staffed and will transition to partial activation if conditions warrant.

Volusia County will open its Citizens Information Center from noon to 6 p.m. Monday. It will also be open 24 hours beginning Tuesday, Aug. 29, until further notice. Residents may call 866-345-0345 for information about the storm, sandbags, disaster preparation and community resources.

In light of the projected easterly swells from Hurricane Franklin and the impending elevated high tide levels coinciding with the upcoming full moon on Wednesday, there is the potential for dangerous rip currents and heightened beach erosion, according to the county.

Residents and visitors are advised to stay out of the ocean until these conditions subside.

All coastal contractors must secure their work sites by end of day Tuesday, Aug. 29, and remain offsite until further notice, the county stated.

These sites had sandbags available as of Monday:

Volusia County will operate self-service sandbag stations from 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 28, and Tuesday, Aug. 29, at the following locations:

Residents can also pick up pre-filled sandbags at the Volusia County Branch Jail, 1300 Red John Road, Daytona Beach, from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 28, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29. There is a limit of five bags per vehicle.

Other sandbag locations:

Daytona Beach: The City of Daytona Beach will offer sandbags from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 28, at Bethune Point Park, 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 Tuesday.

DeBary: Sandbags are available from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 28, and Tuesday, Aug. 29, at 16 Colomba Road. Residents should bring a shovel and identification. There is a limit of 10 bags per residence.

Deltona: Two self-service sandbag locations are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 28, at:

Bags will be provided. Residents should bring a shovel and someone to help with the bagging process.

Edgewater: The City of Edgewater stocked three locations with sand piles:

New Smyrna Beach: Sand and fillable bags will be available to New Smyrna Beach residents at the Sports Complex, which is located at 2335 Sunset Drive, from noon-6 p.m. Monday and 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday. City staff will provide a roll of 15 bags with proof of residency, according to a news release. Sand piles will remain available to residents after hours through Wednesday, Aug. 30. Residents must bring their own shovel.

Orange City: Residents may pick up sandbags from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 28, at the Waggin’ Trail Dog Park, 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. If the demand is still high at 4 p.m., the site will remain open to serve residents.

Ormond Beach: A self-serve sand pile and fillable sandbags are available at the Nova Community Center, 440 N. Nova Road, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday 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.

Ponce Inlet: The Town of Ponce Inlet is providing sand and sandbags from noon to 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 28, and Tuesday, Aug. 29, 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.

Port Orange: The City of Port Orange will operate a self-service sandbag site from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 28, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29, 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.

South Daytona: Sandbags are available from noon to 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 28, at the Piggotte Community Center, 504 Big Tree. Residents should bring proof of residency.

Residents can stay informed by visiting and downloading the Volusia County EM app, which is available for free on the Google Play or App Store. The app features weather alerts and current conditions, preparedness checklists, links to county sites, locations of the nearest open shelter and sandbag distribution sites, evacuation information, push notifications and more.

Residents are also encouraged to follow Volusia County Emergency Management on Facebook, subscribe to the County of Volusia YouTube channel at

On Monday morning, Volusia Schools Superintendent Carmen Balgobin issued a statement that schools at this point are scheduled to remain open for students countywide.

"We wish to assure you that we are collaborating closely with Volusia County Emergency Operations Center to 3esnure that you receive timely and accurate updates throughout this event," Balgobin stated. "As of now, our schools are expected to remain open. No announcements have been made regarding the activation of shelters."

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.

Ahead of the storm, the city of Daytona Beach is also draining ponds, cleaning basins and staging pumps and generators. City staff started that preparation last week.

Cynthia Slater, head of Daytona Beach's branch of the NAACP, also 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.

Deltona and DeLand, both of which experienced flooding in areas after Tropical Storm Ian last year, opened sandbag stations Monday.

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.

In Wilbur-by-the-Sea several homes were heavily damaged by Ian and Nicole’s storm surge, which even led to some houses’ collapse into the ocean.

That was the case with Ken Meister’s house on Atlantic Avenue, which saw most of its backyard crumble after Ian and then half of the structure be swept away by Nicole.

“We are halfway through constructing my seawall,” Meister said. “But nothing else has been done. So I’m hoping we don’t have any damage from the storm.”

He said he is still unsure about whether Idalia will pose a storm surge and high wind risk in Volusia County, or if it will be a primarily rain event.

That is part of the reason why Meister has not made other preparations for the upcoming storm. Another reason is the fact he has been living in Naples since November, because his Wilbur house remains inhabitable.

“There is nothing really I can do to prepare,” Meister said. “I’m hoping there is no further damage to what’s remaining of my home, and that we can get the seawall completed in the next two weeks or so.”

Another Wilbur-by-the-Sea resident, Dan Epperson, echoed Meister’s uncertainty about what the real risk of storm surge from Idalia. will be to his house on Atlantic Avenue.

“It doesn’t look like we are going to have that much in the way of high surf at this point. I don’t see anything that is a solid projection yet,” Epperson said. “I plan on closing all the hurricane shutters today and drag the furniture in, and that will be it.”

Flagler County officials are urging residents to prepare for Tropical Storm Idalia and will also open two sandbagging stations, 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 and clicking on the Disaster Preparedness Guide.

Evacuations might be required on Tuesday afternoon for residents of mobile homes and RVs.

Flagler County and the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office will be supporting sandbagging stations at:

News-Journal reporters Eileen Zaffiro-Kean, Sheldon Gardner, Katie Kustura, Brenno Carillo and Frank Fernandez contributed to this report.

Get updates in real-time:Daytona BeachDeBary:DeltonaEdgewaterNew Smyrna Beach:Orange City:Ormond BeachPonce InletPort Orange:South Daytona