Sound familiar? Flagler County prepares for tropical weather

System forecast to be Tropical Storm Humberto off coast this weekend

By Maggie Lorenz - Multi-media journalist, Steve Patrick - News4Jax digital managing editor

PALM COAST, Fla. - For the second time this month, Flagler County is getting ready for the potential impact of tropical weather.

While what appears what is supposed to become Tropical Storm Humberto will never grow into the beast that Hurricane Dorian became before threatening Florida, the first Tropical Storm Watch issued for the mainland on Friday included Jupiter Inlet to the Flagler-Volusia County line. That will likely expand north through Flager and beyond Friday night.

Flagler County told residents to expect storm impacts all day on Saturday and Sunday morning, including sustained tropical storm-force winds and 3 to 6 inches of rain; potential coastal and Intracoastal Waterway flooding, and tides one-half to one foot above normal at high tide due to minor storm surge.

There is a possibility sustained winds could reach 40 mph, which would have authorities close the bridges.

Unlike with Dorian, the county's emergency managers don't currently plan to close the beaches or the county's iconic pier to the public this time, but people were warned there will be a rip current risk. And, based on forecasts over the next 24-36 hours, that could change.

“We don’t want anyone to panic, but residents should secure loose outdoor items – like patio furniture – so they don’t become hazards,” Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord. 

Many people we talked with on Flagler Beach Friday described themselves as stormed out.

"We're not preparing, basically," beach visitor Terra Lee said. "Didn't even know there was a storm coming. We have a little storm fatigue with the last one and, basically, life goes on."

As with every storm, this one is attracting surfers.

Hunter Lee couldn't leave work fast enough. News4Jax found him on the beach still in his hospital scrubs and with a bar of surf wax in his hand.

"These tropical depressions normally mean waves, and so us surfers, that excites us," Lee said. "So even though it's a little breezy, I'm gonna give it a whirl."

Lee said he's glad the county will not try to run the surfer's off beach.

"I know my limits and I think a lot of surfers do, so if it gets too crazy, I think most people will remove themselves from that situation," Lee said.

Rachel Harrington and her family just moved to Flagler County from California and boarded their windows before Hurricane Dorian.

"We have some still up on most our windows," Harrington said. "We just took a few down and until the hurricane season (ends), we're just gonna keep things ready."

Her biggest concern with Dorian was making sure her kids didn't get scared. 

"We were, like, 'We can just pretend it's a zombie apocalypse,' so they were really looking forward to it," Harrington said. "We got the nerf guns and all that stuff, so they didn't experience any anxiety from it or anything."

Dozens of beachgoers were out soaking up some sun Friday. Terra and David Lee, who are visiting from New Hampshire, didn't even know a storm was coming.

"We'll be at the beach enjoying the area unless it's really bad," Terra Lee said. "I mean, obviously, common sense will come into play."

We caught up with Jame Rolle as he was packing his car to leave the beach, but because of an approaching storm. He was in Flagler County after he drove 18 hours from New York City to help his parents get ready for Dorian. 

"I didn't feel like we were in a storm. I felt like it was a rainy day in Florida," Rolle said.

He's sticking around through next week and isn't too worried this go-round. 

"Unless this hits us, we're OK with being ready from the last one," Rolle said.

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