News Release: Public Information Office, 850-983-5254
Coastal Hazards

Tropical Storm Warning in effect for Santa Rosa County

Thurs., Oct. 17, 3 p.m. - Although Potential Tropical Cyclone 16 has not yet been named a tropical or subtropical storm, the National Weather Service has placed Santa Rosa, Escambia, Okaloosa, coastal Walton, Bay, Gulf, and Franklin counties under a tropical storm warning, which means tropical storm-force winds are expected somewhere within the area within the next 36 hours.

Santa Rosa County Emergency Management is monitoring the situation will send an update following the afternoon update with the National Weather Service. For more information on preparing for tropical activity, visit
  • Schools in Santa Rosa County will be in normal session tomorrow, Fri., Oct. 18. All after school activities for Friday are cancelled. For now, school events scheduled for Saturday, October 19th will continue as scheduled. The school board will continue to monitor the weather closely and update if necessary.
  • Sand for sandbags will be in the four usual locations later today (Thursday):
    • Pine Forest Road and Carroll Street in Milton
    • Pace Fire Rescue District in Pace
    • Leisure Street in Navarre
    • Tiger Point Park in Gulf Breeze
  • The timing of the system has sped up considerably. We are now looking at primarily a Friday/Friday night event with conditions improving Saturday morning. 
  • Rain/wind gradually increase Friday through Friday night, with conditions improving Saturday morning. The quick movement of the storm will greatly limit flooding potential. 
  • This will be primarily a coastal event south of I-10 (greatest potential of seeing minimal tropical storm force sustained winds/frequent gusts is along the immediate coast).
  • Minor coastal flooding possible in typically flood prone areas along immediate coast.
  • A Small Craft Advisory for hazardous boating conditions for small craft has been issued for tomorrow morning through Sunday morning.
  • A high risk of rip currents is expected Friday through Sunday morning along with potentially high surf conditions. Dangerous rip currents and some beach erosion are likely along the panhandle and west coast.
  • The potential for heavy rainfall and localized flooding will exist, especially along the east of the center's track. Rainfall totals of one to three inches with locally higher amounts possible. 
  • Gusty winds look increasingly more likely along the coast. How far inland they will extend and their strength will depend on the track and intensity of the system. 
WIND: Below tropical storm force wind. Peak wind forecast is 20-30 mph with gusts to 45 mph.
  • POTENTIAL THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY: Potential for wind 39 to 57 mph.
  • PLAN: Plan for hazardous wind of equivalent tropical storm force due to possible forecast changes in track, size, or intensity.
  • PREPARE: Efforts to protect property should be underway. Prepare for limited wind damage.
  • ACT: Act now to complete preparations before the wind becomes hazardous.
    • Limited - Damage to porches, awnings, carports, sheds, and unanchored mobile homes. Unsecured lightweight objects blown about.
    • Many large tree limbs broken off. A few trees snapped or uprooted, but with greater numbers in places where trees are shallow rooted. Some fences and roadway signs blown over.
    • A few roads impassable from debris, particularly within urban or heavily wooded places. Hazardous driving conditions on bridges and other elevated roadways.
    • Scattered power and communications outages.
FLOODING RAIN: One to three inches, with locally higher amounts.
  • POTENTIAL THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY: Potential for localized flooding rain.
  • PLAN: Emergency plans should include the potential for localized flooding from heavy rain.
  • PREPARE: Consider protective actions if you are in an area vulnerable to flooding.
  • ACT: Heed any flood watches and warnings.
    • Limited - Localized rainfall flooding may prompt a few evacuations.
    • Rivers and tributaries may quickly rise with swifter currents. Small streams, creeks, canals, and ditches may become swollen and overflow in spots.
    • Flood waters can enter a few structures, especially in usually vulnerable spots. A few places where rapid ponding of water occurs at underpasses, low-lying spots, and poor drainage areas. Several storm drains and retention ponds become near-full and begin to overflow. Some brief road and bridge closures.
TORNADO - Situation is unfavorable for tornadoes.
  • PLAN: Tornadoes are not expected. Showers and thunderstorms with gusty winds may still occur.
  • PREPARE: Little to no preparations needed to protect against tornadoes at this time. Keep informed of the latest tornado situation.
  • ACT: Listen for changes in the forecast.
  • POTENTIAL IMPACTS: Little to no potential impacts from tornadoes.
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