Evacuations and Re-Entry
From the South End of the County - Northward
All traffic will travel northward on U.S. Highway 331 - the only north-south route in Walton County, FL. All traffic originating along the beaches will converge onto U.S. Highway 331 from U.S. Highway 98 and cross over the Clyde B. Wells Bridge (also called the Choctawhatchee Bay Bridge.) This bridge will close when sustained winds reach 40 mph, meaning there is no means of leaving south Walton County because Bay and Okaloosa counties also close their bridges at Phillips Inlet (to our east) and at the Destin East Pass (to our west).
Once in DeFuniak Springs, motorists can take Interstate 10 East or West or proceed on U.S. 331 North to Alabama.
What You'll Need to Do
In your family plan, map out your route to shelters or locations out of the area. Be familiar with alternate routes. Have local meeting places and an out-of-town contact in case family members are separated.
- Monitor local news media for instructions about evacuation. If told to evacuate, do so quickly.
- Follow evacuation route instructions.
- Bring your disaster supply kit.
- Keep your vehicle filled with gas at all times. Never store additional gasoline in your home or vehicle.
- Lock your home. Leave a note stating when you left, where you are going and contact numbers.
- Check on elderly relatives and friends who may need your assistance.
- Contact your out-of-area contact about your plans.
- If instructed to do so, shut off water, gas and electricity before leaving. Remember, if you shut off gas, a professional must turn it back on.
- Enact your pet safety plan.
- For those living south of the Choctawhatchee Bay, the only evacuation route is U.S. 331. It is estimated it will take at least 30 hours to evacuate all residents and visitors from south Walton. Remember, the Choctawhatchee Bay bridge (Clyde B. Wells Bridge) will CLOSE when sustained winds reach 40 mph!
Returning to Walton County after an Evacuation
Access to south Walton County may be restricted immediately after the storm. The Clyde B. Wells Bridge (also known as the Choctawhatchee Bay Bridge) will remain closed until inspections by the Florida Department of Transportation are done and it is deemed safe for travel. Emergency Response and damage assessment operations after the storm must be completed before the general public can be allowed back into the area.
Residents of south Walton should have with them proof of their residency such as a drivers license with a south Walton address.
Persons employed in the area should contact their employer for returning instructions and information.
Be aware and stay clear of disaster recovery operations. Avoid downed power lines, flooded or damaged roads and potentially unsafe buildings. Remember, wildlife such as snakes and other wild animals look for refuge in storms and may have made your home their safe haven during the storm.