Since the Panhandle is within the projected path of the storm, officials are gearing up for impact. Forecasters are anticipating Saturday to be clear of rain and a good day to gather the basics.
For now, it's quiet within the Bay County Emergency Operations Center; they're running on a level 3, a monitoring stage.
"We've got four conference calls a day, two with the hurricane center and two with Tallahassee weather." Chief Mark Bowen says.
During each call, Bowen is briefed on the status of the storm and advised to be prepared. "There's a lot of time between now and when this storm is going to make land fall and our hope is that it's going to track away from Bay County."
While the chance exists for a westward track, Bowen hopes we stay west of the eye; the right side of the storm usually brings severe weather and flash flooding. "We really would not want an event where we have a stationary tropical storm that just inundates us with rain because we just can't take any more rain."
10 to 14 inches of rain drenched the Panhandle during the month of August. In some parts, standing water is still an issue.
County and city crews have been working to ensure storm water infrastructure is working to its potential, but Bowen says it will be impossible for the system to keep up with flash floods. "Even if we don't have a large wind event or something like that, a large rain event can bring power outages and things of that nature. So it just underscores to go out this weekend and make sure you have the basics."
As far as schools and shelters are concerned, the county says Sunday will be the earliest they will make a determination. Superintendent Bill Husfelt says they generally close schools, if they are told to open a shelter.