PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – There’s still a lot that can happen with the tropical in the Caribbean.

Whether it comes this way or not, it still doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Local stores say their shelves are stocked, but that could change with the forecast.

Bay County Director of Emergency Operations Brad Monroe and his staff are closely monitoring Invest 98-L to see if it will have an impact on the Northern Gulf region.

Where ever it’s going, it’s expected to become a category 3 hurricane or greater.

“Put together your important documents and that’s your prescriptions, your birth records of your children, stuff like that If you have to evacuate and go somewhere else,” Monroe said.

Have cash on hand and an evacuation plan. You’ll also need to prepare your home.

“Check anything that might be loose in your yard, to make sure you have tarps ready for heavy rains before the hurricane hits, go ahead and put them on your roof, ” Sales Associate at Home Depot Jack Miliam said. “Make sure you have the tools, should the trees fall down. That your chain saws are up to date, ready to go, plenty of gasoline for anything.”

If you’re in a flood zone, plan to leave. Storm surges rise rapidly and winds can gust at 190 miles an hour.

“Listen to these orders from emergency management when they order an evacuation. They’re doing so to protect your life and those of first responders that may have to come in after the fact and rescue folks,” Senior service Hydrologist and Meteorologist a the National weather system in Tallahassee Kelly Godsey said.

If you plan to ride out a storm, make sure you have a two weeks supply of non-perishable food and drinking water for each person in your home. Emergency officials say they’ve made a lot of changes since Hurricane Michale in 2018. Most believe they are better prepared this time.

If you want to know more about Hurricane Preparedness please visit https://www.noaa.gov/hurricane-prep