President Biden approved an Emergency Declaration for the State of Florida on Sunday, August 27, ahead of Tropical Storm Idalia which is expected to intensify into a hurricane before it makes landfall this Wednesday.

The action authorizes FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts caused by the storm in Alachua, Bay, Calhoun, Charlotte, Citrus, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lee, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor and Wakulla counties.

At the time of this post, the National Hurricane Center is showing Idalia shifting further to the east and closer to Central Florida. Orange County is expected to see the worst weather impacts from 5 a.m.-3 p.m. this Wednesday but is still just under a tropical storm watch. Effects from the storm are expected to be felt in Orlando as early as Tuesday afternoon.

The Florida National Guard is mobilizing 1,100 personnel to respond to any impacted areas as well as 300 troopers from Florida Highway Patrol.

The City of Winter Park and City of Orlando departments are monitoring Tropical Storm Idalia’s path and are on standby. In preparation for any inclement weather, residents can pick up sandbags to shore up vulnerable parts of their properties.


Orange County Public Schools is waiting to observe if sustained wind speeds exceed 35 mph, which is the point at which it becomes too dangerous to operate school buses. A final decision on any possible school closures will be made on Tuesday.


Don’t know what to have in your Disaster Kit? Click HERE for a handy checklist from the Division of Emergency Management for some great tips, which include things like two weeks-worth of medication, batteries, a first aid kit, a list of important phone numbers, important documents in a waterproof case, clothing, and two weeks of food and water for yourself and your pets.

  • GAS – Click HERE to use’s interactive map. Suspect someone of price gauging? Report them to Pam Bondi’s new price-gouging hotline at (866)-9-NO-SCAM.
  • SHELTER – Know where your nearest shelter is by clicking HERE. Shelters are managed by Orange County.
  • CITIZEN INFORMATION LINE – Orlando residents can call 407-246-HELP in the event of downed trees, damaged traffic lights, or if they need to report home damage.
    • Bithlo Community Park, 18501 Washington Avenue
    • Carcona Horse Park, 3535 Damon Road, Apopka
    • Downey Park, 10107 Flowers Avenue, Orlando
    • Meadow Woods Recreation Center, 1751 Rhode Island Woods Circle, Orlando
    • West Orange Recreatoin Center, 309 S. West Crown Point Road, Winter Garden
    • Rollins Softball Field Parking Lot, 452 Harper Street [GMap] – 2-6 p.m. Monday, August 28, 8 a.m.-noon Tuesday, August 29. Must show proof of residency.


Is your power out? Assuming you’re on your phone, you can use THIS LINK to report an outage with OUC or THIS LINK for Duke Energy. OUC customers can also text “REG” to 69682 to sign up for Outage Alerts on their phones.

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of

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