Marion County officials and residents prepare for possible flooding as Elsa bears down on Florida

MARION COUNTY, Fla. — In Marion County, county officials and residents are preparing for Tropical Storm Elsa as it makes its way towards Florida.

Marion County is currently offering two locations where residents can get sandbags to protect from possible flooding as wind and rain from Elsa affect Central Florida.

READ: Here’s where you can find sandbags in Central Florida

At the recycling center in Martel, Ocala resident Hunter Watson was loading up with the maximum sandbags allowed.

“We don’t want to take a chance of our front door leaking and causing flood damage,” Watson said.

READ: Elsa live updates: Elsa on the verge of becoming a hurricane; Tom Terry tracks live on Channel 9

Sandbagging started Monday, and the site, which is open until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, is offering 10 bags per vehicle.

“I’ve only been here four years so I’m still learning about Florida. Each storm brings something different, so I’m just trying to be prepared,” said Ocala resident David Wells.

READ: Tropical Storm Elsa: These school districts, universities will be closed tomorrow

Sgt. Paul Bloom from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said there could be flooding in low lying areas and especially further west in Dunnellon.

Marion County officials also reached out to the 35 people on a special needs registry in that area, encouraging them to head east if possible.

Marion County has also opened a shelter for them at West Port High School.

READ: Tropical Storm versus Category 1 Hurricane: What’s the difference?

“We’ve already had a lot of rain, and the ground is soft,” Bloom said. “Potential for trees blowing over and down power lines is pretty high.”

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Cierra Putman

Cierra Putman,

Cierra Putman flew south to join Eyewitness News in July 2016.