CLAY COUNTY, Fla. - Flooding is always a concern in Clay County when inundating rains move into the area, especially when those rains are tropical storm force.
"Obviously the concern for us is on top of the rain that we've already received for the past few days, we're already saturated," says Clay County deputy director of emergency management John Ward.
Ward says the biggest concern in Clay is the Black Creek Basin and surrounding areas that are prone to flooding. He says the timeframe in which the storm arrives is going to play a huge role in determining how bad the flooding is.
"If that rainfall goes over an 18-24 hour period then we are ok, we'll have plenty of time to wash out. If it comes in a shorter timeframe and we start getting much heavier rainfall dispensed out over those locations, we're going to see the south prong, potentially the north prong come up into action or even minor flood stage."
In Orange Park, residents were coming out to the town hall as early as 8 a.m. to take advantage of the city offering free sandbags.
"I want to be prepared," says Orange Park resident Mary.
Michael Killea and his son said they were downtown at preseason cross country practice when the skies opened up. They say they heard about free sandbags on WOKV and decided to pick some up for themselves and an elderly neighbor.
"So we thought if we could pick some up, we'll take some over there where we see it, drop it in for her."
Killea says the key to beating these storms is to be prepared before they move in.
"We got ourselves set up with a generator when the power goes out, we do things like get all the yard furniture out, stow it all away so you don't get stuff flying around in high winds. We've even gone so far as to put important papers into watertight containers in case a real catastrophe hits, like a tornado or something."
Killea encourages other residents in Orange Park to take advantage of the free sandbags while they're still available.