In the midst of storm preparations, as Category 4 Hurricane Michael heads towards the Gulf Coast of Florida and Georgia, Bobby Cornwell, president and CEO of the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (Florida ARVC), told WOODALLSCM.com that their offices in Tallahassee were in the path of the storm and being evacuated.
The storm’s sustained winds have increased to about 140 mph, with higher gusts, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. The agency said it is possible the storm could strengthen further before it makes landfall by this (Oct. 10) afternoon.
The Florida Panhandle could see storm surges of up to 13 feet and flash-flooding from heavy rainfall, the NHC said. The chance of tornadoes will also increase into Wednesday over parts of the Panhandle, the northern Florida Peninsula, and southern Georgia.
The storm, which formed off the coast of northern Honduras, has already killed at least 13 people in Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. Torrential rains triggered flash-flooding and landslides in Central America over the weekend.
In an email sent out to Florida ARVC members Tuesday afternoon, Cornwell noted that the office may be without power and internet access for days after Michael hits.
“If this is the case, our office phone lines and office email will be down,” the email noted. “If this happens and you have difficulty reaching us, you may contact me by my cell anytime at 850-544-4472. Please feel free to call or text me if you need anything or if you would like to report the status of your park following the storm. I also have another email at [email protected] which can be used if [email protected] is down.”
He also relayed to members that they should heed all evacuation orders.
“Hopefully the storm won’t be as bad as expected, but it is always better to play it safe and evacuate your park if you are in the storm path,” he explained. “After the storm passes please let us know at the Florida ARVC office of your status, any damages, and if your park is open or closed. We will be doing our best to keep-up with the damage reports and will alert media and campers of any vital information. I will be assuming and reporting that all of our members outside the direct path (or outside a 100 mile radius of the path) are safe and open for business. If this is not the case, please let me know.”
Many parks along the northern Gulf Coast of Florida are closed.
“RV parks and campgrounds along the Coastal Region, from Destin to Cedar Key or from Santa Rosa County to Levy County, are
having to heed emergency evacuation orders and are closing their parks until the hurricane passes,” said Cornwell.
Inland RV parks and campgrounds may be used to accommodate visitors and hurricane evacuees, however.
“Those seeking campground accommodations should have no trouble finding RV sites in Florida as the campgrounds in the northeast region, the center, and the southern parts of the state are far away from the storm path and are open for visitors and evacuees,” Cornwell explained.
For a list of campgrounds and RV parks in Florida, please visit www.campflorida.com.
For more information on RV park availability and updates on the status of Florida RV parks following the storm, please visit www.facebook.com/CampFlorida.