Here is the latest local information from area counties on Hurricane Nate.

Most Northwest Florida residents may see Hurricane Nate as no more than gusty winds and passing showers. But folks along the coast, particularly in the western part of the Panhandle, may feel this latest tropical event more profoundly.

As the storm approached Saturday, emergency officials warned of a storm surge that could be as high as 4 feet, particularly in Santa Rosa County.

Navarre Beach residents were advised to evacuate and beaches along the Emerald Coast had double red flags flying, effectively closing the water to swimmers. The risk of rip currents is very high and officials warned swimmers not to go in the water immediately after the storm passes.

"As it moves northward, it will drag the weather with it and conditions will start improving rapidly," said Randy McDaniel, Okaloosa County's director of emergency management. "By midday on Sunday weather conditions will have improved rapidly."

And while no one had a crystal ball, here's what local officials expected from Nate, which was supposed to come ashore west of the Panhandle overnight.

Santa Rosa County

According to Brandy Whitehurst, Santa Rosa County’s public information officer, flooding was likely in low areas. On Saturday, officials advised folks to evacuate Navarre Beach and other low-lying areas, although evacuations were not mandatory. 

A pet-friendly shelter opened at the Milton Community Center on Saturday.

The county also does not expect to close any bridges, but will if sustained winds reach 39 mph.

"It is forecast to be 3 or 4 feet above what is typically dry land. Given building regulations, structures should be elevated in those areas, so we would not expect to see water intrusion in living areas," Whitehurst said. 

County officials don't expect Nate to be a significant rain event.

Toll collectors at the Garcon Point Bridge were sent home for their safety, and motorists who would normally pay cash will be assessed the fee later, based on their license plates. They will not be charged an administrative fee through 5 a.m. Monday.


Okaloosa County

Randy McDaniel, the director of Okaloosa County Emergency Management, said that as of Saturday afternoon no evacuations were underway. A shelter had been opened at Davidson Middle School in Crestview.

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Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport was expected to remain open, although travelers were urged to monitor the storm and check with their airlines before heading to the airport.

The county's Emergency Operations Center was activated and personnel were monitoring the storm. The impact was expected to be minimal, McDaniel said. 

“We will continue monitoring the storm, but we don’t anticipate a great deal of impact from this,” McDaniel said.  “So far we are being told about 2 inches of rain and possibly 1 to 4 feet of surge, just water above normal tide level.”

Walton County

Louis E. Svehla, the public information manager for Walton County, said that although the overall impact of the storm is expected to be minimal, “the farther east you move in the county, the less of an impact you are going to see.”

Sustained winds from 25-35 mph are expected. 

Two to 5 inches of rain is expected, according to the National Weather Service.

The worst impact of the storm is expected to end at noon Sunday.