The Walton County Board of County Commissioners has called an emergency meeting to take place today, Oct. 3, at 1:30pm in the Boardroom at the Courthouse in DeFuniak Springs located at 571 US Hwy 90.
The purpose of this meeting is for the board to discuss Tropical Storm Karen that is currently in the Caribbean and receive information on the County’s readiness and preparation for the potential impacts of the storm to Walton County. In addition, the Board and Administration may act to work towards solidifying and improving efforts in response when the area deals will large amounts of rainfall, flooding or other damage caused by tropical or other storms.
A Walton Sun reporter will be attending the meeting. Stay tuned for updates.
Steve Miller from the National Weather Service in Mobile, Ala., told The Log that there are a couple of factors working against the storm, but residents can expect to see rough surf over the weekend.
"People should definitely stay off of the beaches Friday through Monday," he said. "At this point, the absolute worst from what we’re hearing from the Hurricane Center is a minimal hurricane of 73 miles per hour."
Tropical Storm Karen is currently moving to the north-northwest and is expected to make landfall somewhere along the Gulf Cast late this weekend. Rain and wind will precede the storm.
Reports show that surface winds of 50 to 60 mph have been measured in portions of the storm's circulation, according to the Weather Channel. Karen is the 11th named storm this season.
The storm could bring 4 to 8 inches of rain to the area, according to a forecast from Weather Underground hurricane analyst Jeff Masters.
11:10 a.m. -- Karen's winds are now up to 65 mph, according to the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center.
1:36 p.m. -- According to the National Weather Service (NWS) Birmingham office, a hurricane watch is now in effect for the Northern Gulf Coast Region. There is an onset of tropical storm force winds (39 to 73 mph) possible late Friday night offshore and Saturday morning on the Alabama and Northwest Florida Gulf Coasts. Tropical Storm Karen has the following potential impacts:
•Heavy Rainfall: 3 to 5 inches with localized 6 to 8 inches Friday through Sunday.
Mostly flooding of poor drainage areas and smaller stream basins. Large river basins right now would see minor flooding at worst…mainly south of Highway 84.
Areas of potential concern Shoal Creek, Yellow River, Blackwater River, Big Coldwater Creek, Styx River, Fish River.
•Wind Impacts: 40 to 50 mph winds (35 to 45 kts) possible over the marine area late Friday Night into Saturday morning, especially in squalls with bands of thunderstorms. Tropical storm force winds at the coast Saturday morning.
•Coastal Flooding, Storm Surge and Tide Levels: Stronger East to Southeast winds Friday into Saturday could produce 2 to 4 feet inundation flooding over land, based on exact track which is uncertain. Tides levels 3 to 5 feet above normal tide levels starting Late Friday into Saturday.
First to Flood: starting early Saturday Morning, Dauphin Island, Mobile Causeway, Fort Pickens.
•Beaches: Expect a HIGH RISK FOR DANGEROUS RIP CURRENTS Friday into Saturday. Also beach erosion with higher wave run-up possible Friday into Saturday. High tide will be during the evening hours.