Marion County emergency crews ready for storm

Central Florida is bracing for an expected storm that was churning its way to our area Wednesday.

“I’ve never been through this before,” said Kim St. John, of Ocala.  She and her husband, William, are new to Florida. They wasted no time in getting sand bags Wednesday, just in case.  “I’m a little nervous, but we’ll get through it.”

Robert Jenkins, of Ocala, wasn’t nervous, but he was looking out for his loved ones. “I’m just trying to take care of my family. Make sure that there’s food in the house, make sure we’re ready.”

That spirit of being ready was the connecting theme of Marion County’s emergency meeting Wednesday morning. Every county department stood ready.

“We don’t wait ‘til the wind starts blowing, and the rain starts falling," said Lt. Chip Wildy, Marion County’s Emergency Management Director.  

They talked about the expected storm, and a local state of emergency that’s in the works Wednesday. It was the first step in getting back-up state or possibly Federal money, if the storm does real damage.

Wildy added, “I’m not sure that we’re gonna come even close to anything like that, but at least having it on hand if we do.”

The bottom line is, have a storm plan   Also, have a storm kit, with things like a first-aid, canned food, water, or batteries. These are things you can do, to help keep your family safe.

“We’ve got our batteries and stuff ready,” St. John added. “Flashlights, radios. We’re pretty much prepared.”

If you have questions or concerns about the expected storm, you can call the Marion County Emergency Management Center at 352-369-7500.