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Venice and North Port prepare for Hurricane Irma

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VENICE, FL (WWSB) - It was a feeling of cautious optimism around the office of Richard Berman on Tuesday. He's the Emergency Operations Manager for the City of North Port.

"We are aware. We're watching the storm," said Berman.

They're watching closely. The big threat right now is the Myakka River. With last week's heavy rain, the river is full.

"We don't have a whole lot to give. We're looking at over 6 or 8 inches, starting to have some impact on our roadways," said North Port's Josh Taylor.

The city is keen on reminding folks, if you're staying here… get ready.

"With their emergency kits, with at least three to five days of non-perishable food," said Berman.

Also, three to five days of drinking water. Berman worries about a sense of complacency.

"We call it hurricane coma. Where people think well it hasn't hurt in a long time, it's not going to hurt now," said Berman.

Just a little north, in Venice, they too are getting prepared. City government had a directors meeting this afternoon, planning out how to deal with the storm. One big question is… will there be any evacuations?

"All those kinds of determinations come from above, meaning Sarasota County Emergency Management," said Venice's Lorraine Anderson.

For now, some city projects are being postponed. The Planning Department is asking contractors to secure their job sites to lessen potential debris. It's too soon to say for sure what impacts we may feel, but, Venice is planning on handing out sandbags to residents.

"We encourage people to be mindful of your neighbor and other people needing sandbags. Get only the amount that you need, a reasonable amount of sand and bags," said Anderson.