Hurricane Michael affects Marion County agencies, among others

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MARION COUNTY, Fla., (WCJB) -- Hurricane Michael has mad landfall...some evacuated to Marion County, but TV20's Olana Osborn tells us that one agency is getting ready to leave Marion County and head into the storm.

Students and residents have left dangerous parts of the panhandle, but a local agency is getting ready to provide relief to those who need it most.

Marion County isn't in the line hurricane Michael’s destruction, but we are in the path of evacuees..

“Knowing that they were a few gas stations that had gas available, trying to get out of town knowing that you only have half a tank a gas, and having to get here knowing that traffic would be heavy...it’s kind of nerve-racking and frightening,” said Natasha Dobkowski, an evacuated student from Tallahassee.

Hurricane Michael is wrecking part of the panhandle with 155-mile-per-hour winds, rain, and storm surge floodwaters. Marion county may not be dealing with this, but those who evacuated to our area say coming this far south was a good choice.

“It’s good to just always be prepared in case anything happens, because storms are kind of unpredictable anyway,” said Connor Patrick, who also evacuated from North Florida.

As most are fleeing the panhandle, 27 of Marion County, Gainesville, and Tampa's specialists are prepping to enter the hardest-hit parts of the storm

“I mean, this is what we’re ready for,” said Daniel Jodoin with MCFR, “so this is something for us, we spent thousands of hours training on it, we spent thousands of hours to get the education to be able to deal with it, we train all year for this stuff so that we are ready for it, so that when it comes for us, not that it’s no big deal but we are prepared.”

Deploying at midnight to Taylor County, and moving north from there depending on where the need is the greatest, all specialists going have hours of training, plus specialized training in logistics, heavy equipment, search team management, and other life-saving skills.

Connor Patrick says gas stations are filling up in Marion County, but not like they were in North Florida.

“Well a lot of the gas stations were already out of gas, and there are some gas stations with a line blocking up traffic as I was leaving,” he continued.

And for Natasha Dobkowski, she says she's afraid to see the damage done to her town when she returns.

“Going back to your home knowing that there’s potential damage to your home can be frightening,” she said.